Essentially communication laws in India are governed in part by the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000 [amended in the year 2008] and the Telegraph Act, 1885. There are provisions relating to surveillance under both legislations which are listed below:
1. Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 [Amended 2008] empowers government to intercept, monitor or decrypt any data or information stored on any computer resources for the reason of public safety, public order, etc.
2. Section 69 A of the Information Technology Act gives power to the government to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource
3. Section 69 B of the Information Technology Act gives power to authorize to monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for Cyber Security
4. The Rules notified under the Information Technology [Procedure and Safeguard for interception, monitoring and decryption of information] Rules, 2009 provides that no person shall intercept, monitor or decrypt any information available on any computer resource except by an order from Home Secretary or Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. The rules further iterate that the central government has power to delegate such authority to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information on any computer resource to any agency.
5. Under the Information Technology [Procedures and Safeguards for blocking for access of Information by Public] Rules, 2009 the government has the power to block any information whether generated, transmitted, stored or received or hosted by any computer resource for any reasons that threatens sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, friendly relation with foreign state, security of state etc.
6. The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 had also given power to central or state government to intercept any message if it is against public safety. Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 , states that the interception of communications can be carried out on the occurrence of a “public emergency” or in the interest of “public safety” when it is deemed “necessary or expedient” to do so under certain conditions.
It is to be noted that the data collected by the Central Monitoring System [CMS] will only be accessed by governmental bodies such as the Intelligence Bureau [IB], Research and Analysis Wing [RAW], Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI], National Investigation Agency [NIA], Central Bureau of Direct Taxes [CBDT], and Narcotics Control Bureau [NCB].