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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Snowden disclosures may cloud police meet

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 21, 2013
First Published: 00:31 IST(21/11/2013) | Last Updated: 00:33 IST(21/11/2013)

In the backdrop of former US National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about American mass surveillance programmes, Indian central and state police chiefs on Thursday are going to discuss its impact on national security and work towards insistence of major global internet service providers installing servers within the country for more accountability.

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The discussion on “Cyber Space Vulnerabilites : Recent Disclosures and Implications” will be chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Nehchal Sandhu with a cyber-security presentation from an expert from Intelligence Bureau during the three day annual DGP/IGP conference in Capital.

Attended by Director General (CERT-IN) Dr Gulshan Rai and top Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) officials, the session will involve briefing the state police and paramilitary chiefs on how the US NSA was mounting cyber surveillance in league with Britain, Australia and Israel by directly tapping on to networks in countries including India or through payments to private contractors. This will be based on Snowden’s disclosures.

While India has quietly raised the mass surveillance programme with United States through the institutionalised mechanism, the internal security establishment is concerned that NSA tapping in India had nothing to do with global terrorism and more to do with spying.

“One can understand surveillance of Pakistan, Afghanistan or even Iran in context of terrorism, but cyber intrusion into India was related more to spying,” said a senior Home Ministry official.

Official sources said the police chiefs will not only be briefed on the need to firewall against cyber-spying but also on way to protect critical infrastructure networks from prying foreign powers.

A key area of concern among the cyber security warriors in India is diversion and denial of domestic internet traffic through pre-programmed routers to consumer countries.

While the IB cyber security presentation will recommend that India should come up with its own search engines and services providers like Google or Yahoo, the internal security establishment .

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