06/08/2013, 00.00
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Like the United States, New Delhi enveloped in web and phone spying scandal

According to activists, the central monitoring system recently approved is a "threat to privacy and freedom of expression." It allows the state to monitor phone calls, text messages and use of the web. Limits of competencies and application conditions nebulous. Recent cases of arrests increase concerns.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The new web and phone control system adopted by India to combat terrorism and crime, is a "threat to privacy and freedom of expression." This is what Human Rights Watch (HRW) activists denounce.  They claim the central monitoring system (CMS), recently approved by the government of New Delhi, is likely to turn into a kind of "Big Brother" that violates the basic rights of the citizen.

The story echoes the recent events in the United States, following a complaint from some media that the Agency for National Security has been checking (for years) phones, web and even credit card use of citizens. The controversy provoked by the complaint are likely to overwhelm the Obama administration now accused of having "lost all credibility".

In force since April, the CMS allows the State to monitor phone calls, text messaging and the use of the web of citizens. A system that exploits the controversial Information Technology Act 2008, which allows "phone tapping" in cases of unspecified "conditions of necessity" such as national security or public order.

HRW activists call the system desired by the government "chilling". New Delhi has so far provided little information about the rules over who is authorized to monitor this information and what the standards will be to guarantee privacy.

Among the many cases of abuse in recent years thanks to the law on technology and the media, the case of a business man aged 46, who was arrested last October for a tweet critical of the son of the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. In April, however, a teacher ended up in jail over a satirical cartoon on the Chief Minister of West Bengal.



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