Beware, Government of India to Spy On Your Internet Activity Using Netra



Indian Government is soon going to launch Netra, an Internet surveillance system to spy on all Internet traffic inside India. It can read and access whatever content is being generated by users on Internet such as social media posts, emails, images, videos, blog posts and even voice.

Netra or NEtwork TRAffic Analysis has been developed by India’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a sub-division of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).


Beware, Government To Spy On Your Internet Activity Using Netra

Netra or NEtwork TRAffic Analysis an Internet surveillance system to spy on all Internet traffic inside India.


Netra would be used by Intelligence Bureau (IB) which is our domestic intelligence agency along with Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) which is our external intelligence agency to “intercept and analyze Internet traffic using pre-defined filters”.

DRDO has been working on Netra since 2010, when a team comprising of Dr. G Athithan and his team presented a high performance network traffic analysis technology for information security. A team of 40 senior scientists is behind the development and implementation of this Internet surveillance system, the first of any kind created inside India.

Last year, Government carried out tests of Netra and another Internet surveillance system called “Vishwarupal“, developed by the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO). Basically, they were trying to determine which of these systems is more efficient.

But as per the reports, both of them failed to capture full 100% web traffic and often crashed as well. And then in June this year, reports came out that our Home Ministry is looking for a solid Internet monitoring system which can capture all data points and report suspicious activities.

And now, it seems that Home ministry has finally chosen Netra which would be rolled out somewhere in the end of 2013, as per the recent reports.

How Netra Will Work?

Netra will basically filter out the content which is being generated by netizens. It will detect and catch words like ‘attack’, ‘bomb’, ‘blast’, ‘kill’, ‘jehad’, ‘murder’ etc as soon as they are uploaded via social media shares such as Facebook updates, Tweets, posted in forums, sent via email or mentioned in article or blog post.

Additionally, Netra can also detect any of these words if they are spoken via Google Voice or Skype and then report the concerned IPs to the authorities.

But 300 GB Data Limit?

As per the reports, Intelligence Agencies such as RAW and IB will only be given a space of 300 GB to store the intercepted data generated by Internet and an additional 100 GB for other agencies such as Department of Telecommunications.

If this news is correct, then I am afraid Netra will miserably fail as on an average every minute, 640 TB of data is transferred, 100k Tweets and 204 million emails are sent on the Internet. Though these numbers are global, you can imagine the kind of data that gets transferred. 300GB may exhaust in hours if not minutes!

Will Internet Surveillance Work?

Being a social media activist, it is my personal opinion that Internet surveillance will never work. Even world’s largest military power: USA is trying to monitor and spy on the Internet using its PRISM program, but it has failed to achieve 100% success. Technological entrepreneurs such as Larry Page, founder of Google has also said that Internet monitoring can only work to an extent.

One of the founding fathers of World Wide Web: Dr. Vint Cerf has already declared that any mechanism to control Internet via surveillance or censorship is bound to fail as the basic premise of Internet is based on freedom of expression and action.

Tim Berners-Lee, the person who is hailed as the inventor of World Wide Web has repeatedly said that “surveillance threatens the web”. According to him, the very democratic nature of the Internet stands at being crushed under the heavy stones of surveillance and censorship.

What is your take on the issue of Internet Surveillance by the Government of India?

Do share your views!




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#67Years on our “Tryst With Destiny”



67 Years ago, Jawaharlal Nehru declared through his ever inspiring speech “Tryst with Destiny” our Independence. It’s always a bitter sweet experience reading what he had written then in the context of where “the star of freedom in the east” is today.

India’s independence, at that time, was significant not just because of the geo political and social movements that were taking place but also because for the first time what used to be a massive land mass of different peoples with different languages, religions and cultures decided to adopt a united identity that was built on the principles of freedom and equality for all.

Looking at India 67 years from then, I believe we are still coming to terms with that decision. We are still struggling to understand how to guarantee equality, how to stay away from communalism and narrow mindedness. In his speech Nehru states that our future beckons us:

To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

It’s been 67 years and we are still facing this challenge, we are still trying to fulfill our destiny.

The India of today has many more Nehrus, Gandhis, Patels and Boses who are empowered with tools such as the internet (and its constantly growing reach) to help face this challenge and steer the course of this nation towards fulfilling Nehru’s pledge while giving every Indian a chance to achieve their destiny. However the actions of our elected officials and the decisions taken by our parliamentary systems seem misguided and will continue to impede our potential for greatness unless and until we begin to fulfill our duties as citizens. After all, how can we expect good governance, without being able to be good citizens?

Today we face a moral conundrum – the protection of civic liberties vs. national security. We unfortunately live in a world that has, and continues to, constantly sacrifice liberty for security, and stripped away the ideals we built our nation on in the name of safety and security. Stripped these ideals before we had a chance to guarantee them. This paradox is manifesting itself today on the issue of the Central Monitoring System.

Today’s India cannot prevent its citizens from being arrested for sharing opinions and views on the internet, it forces people to reconsider speaking the truth and speaking out against evils, it makes us afraid of expressing ourselves by making the cost of expression imprisonment and sometimes even sedition. And this sort of misguided governance will continue to be amplified until tools like the CMS are regulated within the context of civic liberty and within the context of what Nehru beckons us to do.

After 67 years, how can we expect to protect and empower great citizenship while bullying expression?

What regulations have been passed by our government to promote freedom of expression rather than curtail it?

It’s time to stop building a system that is deaf to its purpose.

#StopICMS #Sedition #Section66A #66A

founder @Gyaanexchange

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Open Letter to the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)



To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Siddharth Bhansali and I am writing to you as a citizen growing increasingly insecure about my rights online, my freedom of expression and the use and collection of my personal information.

As you may have heard already, the Indian government is in the process of implementing a central monitoring system which will give it unprecedented ability to intercept any kind of electronic transmission. What this means, is that every email, chat, download and even website visited can be tracked and stored for an undefined period of time.

As a citizen I understand that we must do what we need to do to protect ourselves and that such systems are primarily designed to protect the interests of the country. But if the recent past is any indication, the scope for misuse and the impact of such misuse will be, I fear, far more damaging in the long term than anything this system hopes to prevent. An article on The Centre for Internet and Society ( puts all the pros and cons of this system into perspective. A few highlights from the article:

“The Central Monitoring System (CMS) may just be another step in the wrong direction, especially since India currently lacks privacy laws which can protect citizens from potential abuse.”

This could be the biggest threat to democracy this nation has ever faced unless a strong judicial process that regulates and controls the access and usage of such a system is implemented.

Another extremely discomforting piece of information from the CIS:

“In light of the CMS being installed soon, the Mumbai police took the initiative of setting up a ´social media lab´ last month, which aims to monitor Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. This lab would be staffed by 20 police officers who would keep an eye on issues being publicly discussed and track matters relating to public security. According to police spokesman Satyanarayan Choudhary, the lab will be used to identify trends among the youth and to plan law and order accordingly.”

The above is exactly the kind of example which the citizens of this country should be afraid. Is there any warrant or legal process that the Mumbai police are following in “monitoring” Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites? And what does it mean to say that ‘law and order’ will be planned according to what people are discussing on social networks? From the way it reads, it seems like the Mumbai police believe they have the power to apply the law at will based on what is “trending” at the time.

These are all extremely important questions, and I am writing to you, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties to take up this matter. The use of the CMS and its stipulations must be made public and transparent. In order for law and order to work the government must restore the nation’s trust in them to be able to maintain law and order in a just and democratic fashion.

Our apathy, will serve as the shackles for future generations.

In the interest of a greater, evolved and stronger India, I urge you take up this issue at once.

How can I be of service to working towards educating the masses about ICMS and getting the government to implement checks and balance that ensure it will not be misused, and if it is, that the penalty for such is a strong enough deterrent to prevent anyone from doing so?

Awaiting your response.


Siddharth Bhansali

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The what, why and how of #StopICMS



Note: Take part in the Twitter storm to raise awareness for #StopICMS.
  • Indian Central Monitoring System(ICMS) is being implemented by the Government of India(GoI) this year. GoI started implementation from April 2013.[1] #StopICMS is a campaign against the implementation of ICMS in India.
What is ICMS?
  • Though the main reason of ICMS is unclear to the public, we believe after the recent rise in civil society threats and other protests originating from the internet, we believe, GoI wants to have a peek into the working and plans for the next event, as soon as possible. Though, we also infer that this can be widely used against terror attacks and other violent events. But according to security expert Bruce Schneier, searching for a terrorist through data mining is like looking for a needle in a haystack.[2]
  • GoI mainly asks Google to remove defamatory content. Why is that? Security for themselves, in the name of safety of citizens? Content removal requests have increased by 90% from the GoI. 33% of the requests from the GoI are about either hate speech, defamation or government criticism.[3] Therefore, we can conclude that after implementation of ICMS GoI will primarily use it against “hate speeches” and government criticism. So, it could happen so the next time when you speak something really bad about GoI, which they dislike, you might get detained, like what happened to Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (house arrest).
  • We have proof that government started working on ICMS from 2011.[4][5][6]
  • CMS, which costs approximately 4 billion rupees (US$73 million) to build, will be linked to the Telephone Call Interception System (TCIS) setup to monitor voice calls, SMS and MMS, GPRS, Fax Communications on landlines, CDMA, GSM and 3G networks, and video calls.[7]
  • We recently heard Assam police will monitor their part of the network.[11]
Why #StopICMS?
  1. ICMS will be connected with the Telephone Call Interception System (TCIS) which will help monitor voice calls, SMS and MMS, fax communications on landlines, CDMA, video calls, GSM and 3G networks. Agencies which will have access to the CMS include the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Narcotics Control Bureau, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Last October, the NIA approached the Department of Telecom requesting for connection with the CMS to help it intercept phone calls and monitor social networking sites without the cooperation of telcos.[8] NIA is currently monitoring eight out of 10,000 telephone lines and if connected with the CMS, NIA will also get access to e-mails and other social media platforms.[10] Essentially, CMS will be converging all the interception lines at one location for Indian law enforcement agencies to access them. CMS will be capable of intercepting our calls and analyzing our data on social networking sites, and also tracking encrypted signals.[9 (R Chandrashekhar, Secretary, DoT said, "We are still looking at such security issues internally. All the services which use encryption in one form or the other are being looked at.")] Thus our attempts to protect our data from ubiquitous surveillance would be futile.
  1. No privacy legislation currently exists in India. The telephone tapping laws in India are weak and violate constitutional protections. The Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 has enabled e-surveillance to reach its zenith, but yet surveillance projects, such as CMS, lack adequate legal backing[14]. All individuals can potentially be targeted and monitored, regardless of whether they have been involved in illegal activities. The following questions in regards to the CMS remain vague:
    • Who can authorize the interception of telecommunications and Internet communications and access to intercepted data?
    • Can data monitored by the CMS be shared between third parties and if so, under what conditions?
    • Is data monitored by CMS retained and if so, for how long and under what conditions?
    • Do individuals have the right to be informed about their communications being monitored and about data retained about them? It, also, interferes with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to privacy.[16]
  2. Law enforcement requests reports[12] published by companies, such as Google and Microsoft[13], confirm the fact that law enforcement agencies have access to both our content and non-content data, much of which was disclosed to Indian law enforcement agencies. The various surveillance technology companies ensure that Indian law enforcement agencies are equipped to analyze our data and match patterns. Therefore, privacy has gone into the trash for the sake of security.
  1. We know the government today hates public criticizing it. The recent arrests of people for tweeting or posting on Facebook has proved that. Govt. does not like criticism that can be seen by everyone on the Internet.
  1. The Aadhaar numbers, issued by the government to all resident Indians, coupled with databases maintained by the criminal records bureau or the health department, can lead to misuse of profiling. Aadhaar collects biometric information like finger print scans and iris scans. In the absence of a legislation governing the Aadhaar project and lack of strong privacy laws, there is a possibility of this data being misused. Also, the government is planning create a pool of DNA profiles of “offenders.” The center will introduce the bill, first introduced in 2007, in the Parliament to legislate this. According to experts, this could lead to large scale misuse. According to news reports, the bill will also cover people who go through abortion, fight paternity suits and receive or donate organs.[17]
How #StopICMS?
  1. Follow and like Also, subscribe to‘s feed.
  2. Spread the word. Share, tweet, mail this paste and details about #StopCMS. Most people do not realize how important privacy is, and hence don’t care. We cannot simply ignore blatant violations of our rights and do nothing, we did that once before, remember what happened? Yes, we lost our freedom.
  3. Share this picture as much as you can:
  4. Inform local press and media, more attention by the press means more pressure on the government.
  5. Sign this petition and spread it around:
  7. Take part in the Twitter Storm. Tweet with #StopICMS
  8. Write to the people responsible.

Kapil Sibal,
Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Office Address:         107, 1st Floor, Sanchar Bhawan
Office Phone: +91-11-23739191,  +91-11-23372177
FAX: 011-23372428

MF Farooqui
Chairman, Telecom Commission
Office Address:210, Sanchar Bhawan, Delhi
Office Phone:+91-11-23719898

Rita Teotia
Additional Secretary
Phone:  +91-11-23717300

Ram Yagya
Operations Advisor
FAX: +91-11-23372184

R.K. Bhatnagar
Technology Advisor

Ram Narain
Deputy Director General-Security

Further Reading
[4]: (Looks broken, at the time of writing.)
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Indian Central Monitoring System or ICMS what it is and why should you care.



You probably have heard or haven’t heard about ICMS or StopICMS. So it may come to your mind what is this ICMS and why you should bother about it? Well to say why will it bother you, are you ok if somebody reads your emails , sees your email attachments and listens to you phone conversation 24×7 , what if someone does his to your loved-ones say your girlfriend , sister your boyfriend , daughter , etc?

You won’t like it right? That’s what Government is planning to do to all the people who live in India. And the system which will make it happen is   ICMS or Indian Central Monitoring System. And yes, Government has no plan to let you know about it. They want to do it without your consent or your knowledge. Correct me if I am wrong, we do live in a free country and we are citizens of India, which is a democratic country, right? We are not prisoners or criminals correct? Don’t know for sure may be I am wrong.

So you may be wondering how does this ICMS works or functions? Let me know explain it in simple way to you.

India Central Monitoring System the surveillance project is prepared by the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TREM) and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) for India Government and being manned by the Intelligence Bureau. According to Anonymous the ICMS can monitor everything you do online, even without a suspicion of crime. This means that the government will have full access to your phone calls, chat logs and e-mails, even without telling you why.

What is the ICMS capable of doing?

  • The system can monitor content like e-mails, chats, and transcribed call logs etc, documents, web forms, video files, audio files and internet content.
  • It supports analytics including automated text mining, sentiment analysis, link analysis, geospatial analysis, statistical analysis, social network analysis, transaction analysis, location analysis and fusion based analysis from various sources.
  • The system should be able to monitor targets like Internet Protocol address, login details, keywords, email, telephone location, new email ID details, IP range, links etc.
  • It will be capable of complete email extraction including but not limited to address book, inbox, sent, drafts, personal folders, deleted folders etc.
  • It will allow country wise tracking of IM, Chats & emails.
  • Real time visualization screens showing results from real-time data and capability to transliterate to other languages.

And one more thing, that might come to your mind. What happens to the data that is collected? Well that thing is stored and kept by Government. Well what happens if someone takes over those servers and uses someone’s data for criminal / illegal work, the poor innocent person whose data is being used gets punished.

So what do you think my fellow countrymen and netizen ? If you think it’s not right for the Government to spy on us 24×7 then do sign this petition, we hope we can stop it.

Sign it by going to this link,



For further information regarding the ICMS

See here for more detail Government report.

Check this pdf its a Government Tender.

What is ICMS ? by Anonymous

Follow this Twitter accounts if you are on Twitter, to know more news about ICMS

Siddharth Bhansali



Me too if you want :)

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Why we need to stop the India Central Monitoring System



This website is to educate the Indian electorate about what the Government is planning on doing with ICMS – the Indian Central Monitoring System. An all encompassing wide reaching system that can track every digital footprint – email, instant message, browsing history, downloads, uploads… you get it. And that too without any legal reason, warrant or cause. Failing to stop this from happening would be the largest failure by a democratic peoples.

What’s even more worrying is that we lack the basic legal infrastructure that guarantees our privacy and the security of our information and data, thus such a system could end up having wide sweeping power on intercepting any kind of communication.

This blog aims to bring together all that is happening and developing on ICMS, I hope to work with the people involved with galvanizing public civic action and opinion to prevent this from happening.

“The Central Monitoring System (CMS) may just be another step in the wrong direction, especially since India currently lacks privacy laws which can protect citizens from potential abuse. Yet, all telecommunications and Internet communications are to be monitored by Indian authorities through the CMS, despite the fact that it remains unclear how our data will be used.” –

You can start by signing the petition here:

Further Reading:

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Internet Defense League

Member of The Internet Defense League


This website is to educate the Indian electorate about what the Government is planning on doing with ICMS – the Indian Central Monitoring System.