The government is set to tweak rules for interception of phone conversations and accessing phone calls records of subscribers. This would include making it mandatory for the states to regularly keep the centre informed about the number of wiretaps initiated by them.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have received the report from cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar on the required legislative and administrative changes.
The PM had tasked Chandrasekhar to make a quick study of the existing mechanisms and look for solutions “through technology to prevent access of phone conversation to systems outside the institutional framework of centre.”On an average 6,000 to 8,000 telephones are being tapped by various agencies at any given time after taking permission from the union home secretary, Pillai had recently said.
The government followed a proper procedure in ordering interception of telephones and a high-level committee reviewed each case individually before giving its final approval, the home secretary told reporters on Tuesday.
“We not only have the union home secretary and state home secretaries authorising the interception of telephones, we also have an oversight committee, which is headed by the cabinet secretary with law secretary and the telecom secretary (as its members),” he said on the sidelines of a function.
But officials suggest the procedures, and the law needed to be precisely defined. “Strictly speaking, security agencies should not be tapping phones to detect or investigate income tax evasion at the Centre and routine criminal cases in the states,” an official conceded.