Centre files affidavit on PIL against surveillance by govt agencies

New Delhi: Union Railways, Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar address a press conference at the National Media Centre in New Delhi on Dec 10, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Centre has filed an affidavit on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved in the Delhi High Court challenging the surveillance systems that share information and surveillance between law enforcement agencies.

In the PIL, the petitioner claimed that the citizens’ right to privacy was endangered by surveillance systems such as the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS), Network Traffic Analysis (NETRA), and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).

However, in its affidavit, the central government on Wednesday stated that these systems do not give any blanket permission to the law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance, interception, or decryption. It emphasised that permission is required in this regard from a competent authority.

It further said that the NATGRID project will not allow for real-time profiling of individuals, but would allow the agencies to get selective information about selective entities as a part of an anti-terror framework to facilitate access to information from various data sources.

The NGOs were seeking for the forming of an oversight mechanism over the upcoming surveillance systems on grounds that they could allow for extensive public surveillance and violation of privacy.

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