Govt to protect citizens' privacy: PC

Govt to protect citizens' privacy: PC

Noting that the government was investigating the possibility of politicians and others being subjected to unauthorised phone-tapping, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram informed the Rajya Sabha that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that the government should get to the bottom of the tapping controversy.

Keeping in pace with technology, the government will amend the Telegraph Act and take all steps to protect the rights of its citizens as per the Constitution. He said the government will take necessary steps to review whether the National Technical Research Organisation, equipped with telephone interception technology, be shifted from National Security Adviser to a minister, who will be accountable to Parliament. At present, NTRO is accountable to the NSA who reports directly to the Prime Minister.

Rejecting the allegation made by the Leader of the Opposition in RS, Arun Jaitley, the minister said Central Board of Direct Taxes and other enforcement agencies have powers to intercept messages if the nation’s financial security was threatened. This has also been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Jaitely, had argued that mere suspicion of tax evasion cannot be equated with ‘public safety’ and ‘public emergency’ – the only two situations allowing interception of messages.

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