The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and Madhya Pradesh police on a petition alleging that a US company was providing database of telecom service providers and personal data of subscribers to anyone for a price, putting national security at risk.
Notices were also issued to the CBI and military intelligence on a PIL filed by Prashant Pandey, Vyapam scam whistle-blower, who alleged that many officials of MP police have been illegally using the software to snoop on individuals.
Though focusing on MP police, Pandey, however, said several investigating agencies, bookies and telemarketing companies were also using the software, which was an illegal and anti-national act, and warranted a CBI investigation into “murky” affair.
Introducing himself as a digital forensic engineer and an external whistleblower who had offered his services to various enforcement and investigating agencies, Pandey said he had knowledge of around 4,000 officers of MP police including the special task force (STF) and anti-terrorist squad using the software of the US firm Spudan.
He claimed the state government was paying the fees to the company.
"The petitioner has personal knowledge that various investigating agencies across the country were approached by such vendors/ information technology companies to buy the product (software) which enables the investigating agencies to intercept calls and generate call detail records without following standard operating procedure and taking permission from chief secretary/home secretary," he said.
Stating that illegal interception of calls, generation of call detail records etc are not only violative of Indian Telegraph Act and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act but are also fuelling various criminal activities like extortion, betting and others and has a direct bearing on national security.
He urged the court to order a CBI investigation into the matter.
Talking to HT, Pandey said he admitted before the court that he, too, had access to large part of database which the company in question provides to officers of MP police and surrendered it to court.
"I told the court that I was using it when I didn’t know that it was illegal and now wish to make public the murky business of these information technology companies," he added.
Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur, when asked about the PIL, said he had no knowledge on the issue.