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 linesand 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 ourcontent 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]