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Empowered by law to monitor, decrypt digital information: govt


New Delhi: In a candid admission on Tuesday in the Lok Sabha, the government said that it “empowered" to intercept, monitor and decrypt digital information within the ambit of the law.

The home ministry’s response comes in the wake of WhatsApp saying that it had sued Israel’s NSO Group for the use of its Pegasus spyware for targeted surveillance in 20 countries.

 “Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, empowers the central government or a state government to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted, any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India," minister of state for home affairs G. Kishen Reddy told the Lower House.

“Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, empowers lawful interception of messages on occurrence of public emergency or in the interest of public safety. This power of interception is to be exercised as per provisions of law," he added.

Earlier, the home ministry had issued an order which allowed 10 government agencies to snoop any computer part of ensuring internal security.

It was about monitoring the exchange of information between individuals and banned or militant groups.

According to Reddy surveillance, monitoring, intercepting or decryption of any information being done only by authorized agencies as per due process of law.

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