What is cyber surveillance and explain the various acts that back surveillance in India?
Cyber-surveillance is a mechanism for the surveillance of persons, objects or processes that is based on new technologies and that is operated from and on data networks, such as the Internet. Its purpose is to facilitate surveillance, in keeping with the quantity, rapidity or complexity of the data to be processed.
- Elsewhere, cyber-surveillance has been increasingly relied on by governments to carry out
- certain administrative tasks in the health, welfare, education and civil security sectors
- Businesses keen to protect certain information or to monitor the behaviour of their employees or clients have also engaged in “cyber veillance” and corporte surveillance. Civil society and citizens’ organisations may also use information technologies to monitor the words and deeds of authorities or businesses as part of strategies to publicly denounce conduct they deem to be unacceptable.
- Cyber-surveillance involves the gathering of data by means of technological tools and surveillance software programs.
- This often abundant data (consisting in or relating to events, messages, movements, system access, etc.) is recorded and then sifted through by automated surveillance computers.
- The enhanced data resulting from this filtering process can then be used by human investigators who contribute to decisions about the best courses of action to adopt.
- It has thus become possible to monitor the behaviours of individuals in real time, over a specific period and around the world
Acts that backs surveillance in India:
- Section 5(2) of The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, states that the government can intercept a “message or class of messages” when it is “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence”.
- The operational process for it appears in Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951. Rule 419A was added to the Telegraph Rules after the verdict in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) vs Union of India case, in which the Supreme Court said telephonic conversations are covered by the right to privacy, which can be breached only if there are established procedures.
- Under Rule 419A, surveillance needs the sanction of the Home Secretary at the Central or State level, but in “unavoidable circumstance” can be cleared by a Joint Secretary or officers above, if they have the Home Secretary’s authorisation. In the K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India verdict of 2017, the Supreme Court further reiterated the need for oversight of surveillance, stating that it should be legally valid and serve a legitimate aim of the government.
- The second legislation enabling surveillance is Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It facilitates government “interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource” if it is in the interest of the “sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign States or public order” or for preventing or investigating any cognisable offence. The procedure for it is detailed in the Information Technology Rules, 2009.
- These rules are very broad and allow even the redirection of traffic to false websites or the planting of any device to acquire information.
- The use of Pegasus is illegal as it constitutes unauthorised access under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act. Section 66 prescribes punishment to anyone who gains unauthorised access and “downloads, copies or extracts any data”, or “introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus,” as laid down in Section 43.
~Source The Hindu
Syllabus GS III Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development and employment.
Elucidate the implication of weak rupee and discuss the steps taken by the RBI
The Indian rupee has depreciated by around 7% against the U.S. dollar, since the start of the year, in response to various domestic and global factors. Specifically, a widening current account deficit, persistent risk-off sentiment as a result of geopolitical tensions, ‘a strengthening dollar index, and continuous sell-off by foreign portfolio investors have all put pressure on the rupee’.
The implications of a weak rupee on the economy are multifold.
- Among the benefits is the premise that the rupee’s weakening should aid exporters in becoming more competitive.
- However, the concomitant depreciation of currencies of some of India’s competitors such as South Korea, Malaysia and Bangladesh against the dollar, along with a high import intensity of some of its key export segments (petroleum, gems and jewellery and electronics), is likely to have blunted the ameliorative impact on India’s exports. Slower global demand is expected to affect outbound shipments as well.
- On the flip side, a weaker rupee is driving up prices of key import commodities such as coal, oil, edible oil, gold, thus impacting the imported component of inflation.
- The unhedged component of corporate debt denominated in dollars is also likely to bear the brunt of a weaker rupee.
- Most importantly, a continuously sliding exchange rate discourages foreign investors from making fresh investments, which keep losing value in dollar terms.
- For this reason, it is ideal to provide confidence to investors by arresting a continuous slide in the exchange rate.
- Of course, any target should be avoided, as global forces remain fluid and market forces should be allowed to play.
The RBI’s measures
- Apart from intervening in the forex market to arrest the fall in the rupee’s value, the RBI announced a slew of measures recently to liberalise foreign inflows into the country and make them more attractive.
- Measures such as promoting trade settlements between India and other countries in rupee terms, offering higher interest rates on fresh Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Bank) and Non-Resident External deposits, a widening of investable universe of government and corporate debt, a relaxation of the interest rate and amount ceiling for External Commercial Borrowing loans, among others, have contributed to arresting the rupee’s slide against the greenback.
- Some other measures could be considered if the slide in the currency continues unabated.
- The Government could encourage some of the large market cap companies (private and public sectors) to be included in the major global indices such as MSCI and FTSE.
- This will help increase the weight of Indian equities in these indices, compensating for foreign portfolio outflows to some extent as investors are unlikely to be underweight on India.
- The Government could also expedite India’s entry into bond indices such as J.P. Morgan’s Emerging-Market Bond Index and Barclays Global Bond Index. This will not only lead to forex inflows but also have a benign impact on interest rates.
- Such measures will keep the forex war chest of the RBI at a comfortable level, providing the central bank the requisite ammunition in case there is further weakness. Of course, any excessive capital inflow leading to an appreciation of the currency should also be avoided.
Overall, even as the rupee is expected to remain under pressure in the near term because of global uncertainty, high commodity prices and rising U.S. interest rates, mitigating measures have to be taken to partly arrest the slide. The maintenance of the U.S.-India interest rate differential along with timely forex market interventions by the central bank to manage volatility will prove to be salutary in preserving the rupee value against the greenback.
~Source The Hindu