Be warned: Soon govt will know what you surfed yesterday
by FP Editors May 25, 2013
A report in BusinessLine today informs us that the government wants to keep track of where you go on your internet travels, and is planning to make it compulsory for telecom and internet service providers (ISPs) to maintain detailed records of your surfing habits and proclivities.
An insecure state machinery that regularly snoops on its people is bad enough; but a police state greased by corruption and zero accountability means the privacy of ordinary citizens will be sacrificed in the cause of the powerful. Reuters
Currently, mobile companies have to keep voice call data records, but in future they may have to do so even with data traffic.
An Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) system, offered by may companies selling telecom gear, enables ISPs to track and store details of our net usage. If the telecom department succeeds in forcing them to keep records of everyone’s data usage patterns without putting in place a strong privacy law, anyone with access to these records can blackmail individuals.
The fact is security agencies already have the right to ask telcos and ISPs to intercept the data of people they suspect of wrongdoing. Forcing them to maintain detailed records of data usage patterns means privacy risks will soar since information will be available on anyone and everyone.
Consider the dangers:
When usage data is stored for long periods of time, every telco knows it is there and could use it to access privileged information.
When paying bribes comes so easily, the possibility that such data may be sold to criminals or blackmailers for cash is high. Once data leaks, there may be no way to trace it back to who passed the information on.
Governments can always use this information against political rivals.
It is worth recalling that the Niira Radia tapes, though legitimately tapped by the income-tax department, were leaked to the media. Even though this helped us discover the 2G scam, the fact is nobody has been held accountable for the illegal leaks in this case — even with the Supreme Court hearing the matter.
An insecure state machinery that regularly snoops on its people is bad enough; but a police state greased by corruption and zero accountability means the privacy of ordinary citizens will be sacrificed in the cause of the powerful.