In a written reply to a question posed by a law-maker, newly appointed Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology, Mr. Milind Deora, said that his department has already received a recommendation on this regard from the Ministry of Home Affairs which is also in-charge of internal security of the country.
“Department of Telecommunication has received a letter from Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure effective monitoring of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter in order to strengthen cyber security paraphernalia,” the Minister informed the Rajya Sabha.
A spate of terrorist attacks and anti-social activities has led the government to believe that monitoring of the Internet is necessary. Here are some of their earlier steps taken:
In 2009, they banned the import of cell phones which lacked IMEI. They also subsequently rendered all IMEI-less phones useless. In 2010, they brushed up on their skills of intercepting web data with help from the United States of America. In 2011, the Government took issue with Candian company RIM, over the way their Blackberry Enterprise Server encrypted mails, not letting them be monitored by the government. The issue escalated to a point where Blackberry Internet Services were nearly banned.
Other web services like Google and Skype were also under the Government’s scanner. However, an independent Telecom panel set up by the Government came to the conclusion that banning digital communication services was not the solution.
When a country the size of India, with an ever-growing population of netizens addicted to Social media is to be monitored by a single body, it is bound to be an exhaustive and expensive task. We can’t help wondering whether it is worth the effort. If there is anyone using the Internet to communicate terrorist attacks and other anti-social activity, it is highly unlikely that they will use public forums like Twitter and Facebook.