Guardian’s recent revelations about Prism, the surveillance program built by the US government proves that there is no such word called “online privacy”. Since then US and its allies have been trying to justify the centralized monitoring in the name of national interest and being a savior from serious terrorist attacks.
The revelations that were carried with the help Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the U.S. National Security Agency were coincident with the US Secretary of State John Kerry. John’s visit last month was to reinvigorate trade and security ties between the two countries. However, the US secretary believes that there is an “enormous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding” about the program in the US which allows for monitoring of individual e-mail and telephone conversations.
The same was defended by India’s Foreign Minister, Salman Khurshid, who shared his thoughts in a televised interview. The minister from the UPA government added that,
“Some of the information that they got out of their scrutiny they were able to use to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries.”
According to the Foreign Minster of India, US was not “snooping” and the intention was finding a pattern of telephone calls and emails. A similar thought was shared by the US President Barack Obama, who had argued that the programs have protected Americans with only “modest encroachments” on their privacy.
“You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society,” shared the US President who defended the surveillance programs as necessary to protect Americans.
It is not surprising to see India supporting US when the country itself has a clone in the name of Centralised Monitoring System. The Congress led UPA government had introduced the CMS in the parliament in 2012 and it started functioning in 2013. However, there were talks about such a system from late 2009 onwards to bolster the security of the country.
The Indian Government is justifying the move, in the name of national concern. In a recent Google Plus Hangout, Minister of State, Communications & IT and Shipping Milind Deora had justified the move and elaborated that the CMS in fact will help in protecting privacy from telecom companies. But what happens when there is a misuse of privacy of common man in a country which has no privacy law in place.
But what is surprising is that there has been no mention from the Government about US snooping on India while the US Secretary of State was visiting the country. Reports from Guardian had stated that USA has collected 6.3 Billion data from India in March 2013 through its National Security Agency (NSA)’s Prism program by tapping into the servers of companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, for information including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats.
At a time when European leaders have criticized the snooping activities of US on other countries and have threatened to abandon trade negotiations our country has not opened its mouth and is also supporting Prism.