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Only authorized law enforcement agencies can tap telephones, intercept WhatsApp messages: Govt

Only authorized law enforcement agencies in the country to have the authority to tap telephones or intercept and monitor any electronically transmitted information, according to the government.

In response to a question about whether national or international agencies are authorized to monitor and decrypt any digital material, including WhatsApp conversations, Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra said this.

He responded to the written question by saying, ”Only authorized law enforcement agencies in the country, are empowered 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 as per legal provisions of section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.”

The Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring, and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009, and the Standard Operating Procedure created for the purpose, according to the minister, include safeguards and a review system for telephone tapping.

The Information Technology Act of 2000 (ITA-2000, or the IT Act) is an Indian Parliament Act (No 21 of 2000) that was notified on October 17, 2000. It is India’s primary law governing cybercrime and electronic trade.

The Intermediary Guidelines Rules 2011 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 are subsidiaries or subordinate legislation to the IT Act.

The original Act was divided into 94 sections, 13 chapters, and four schedules. The laws are applicable throughout India. Persons of other nationalities can be charged if a crime is committed involving a computer or network in India.

By recognizing electronic records and digital signatures, the Act creates a legal foundation for electronic government. It also defines cybercrime and lays out the consequences. To govern the issuing of digital signatures, the Act mandated the creation of a Controller of Certifying Authorities. It also established a Cyber Appellate Tribunal to handle any disputes that may arise as a result of the new law. Various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Banker’s Book Evidence Act were also changed by the Act.

In 2008, a significant change was made. It enacted Section 66A, which made it illegal to send “offensive messages.” Section 69 was also added, giving authorities the right to “intercept, monitor, or decode any information through any computer resource.” It also included measures dealing with pornography, child pornography, cyber terrorism, and voyeurism. The amendment was enacted without debate in the Lok Sabha on December 22, 2008. The Rajya Sabha approved it the next day. President Pratibha Patil signed it into law on February 5, 2009.

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