Milind Deora is a very busy man. That's not surprising considering he is the Minister of State of Communications, IT and Shipping. He is also a charismatic politician and the voice of reason for the new generation. He tackles issues with the poise of a veteran which is evident from his views on corruption, policies, infrastructure and the economy. He is responsible for a number of IT initiatives such as the G-cloud, e-governance, and the recently launched national cyber security policy, among others. In this interview, Deora, a blues musician, and the youngest Lok Sabha minister, shares his nouveau views on how IT can change India.
CIO: What do initiatives like the CMS hope to achieve, considering that privacy is a major concern?
Milind Deora: There are a lot of misconceptions around the Central Monitoring System (CMS). But what it really is allowing us to do is create better security safeguards. There shouldn't be any opposition to that. Under my Ministry, we are providing a technology input through the CMS which will improve the existing method of legal interception of calls as well as preventing illegal interceptions.
The CMS will also automate the manual process of taking the authorization to a telecom service provider's nodal officers who provision interception and monitoring.
In the automated process, provisioning will be done centrally at the CMS by DoT officials, resulting in quick provisioning and ensuring confidentiality. The implementation of the CMS will not, in any way, invade the privacy of Indian citizens because the automated process of the CMS will be subjected to the same regulatory scrutiny as is available in the present manual system under Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act and Rules 419-A. Additionally, it will also hold the added advantage of creating a safeguard against any illegal provisioning by telecom service providers in the present system, however remote it may be.
CIO: How does the CMS affect Indian businesses?
Milind Deora: The intention of the CMS is not to adversely affect any business, be it Indian or foreign. As the interception and monitoring through the CMS will be subjected to the same regulatory scrutiny as is available in the present manual system under Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act and Rules 419-A, under which directions for intercepting any message or class of messages under the said act shall not be issued except by an order made by the respective Secretaries to the Central or State governments of the respective Home departments.
In unavoidable circumstances, such order may be made by an officer, not below the rank of a Joint Secretary to the Government of India, who has been duly authorized by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary, as the case may be.
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