US data mining report miffs India government
Following the revelation of PRISM, the US data mining programme, it has it has been revealed that India ranks fifth as in the most tracked countries in the US, reported British daily The Guardian.
It reported that Iran is the most-tracked country as the largest amount of intelligence was gathered from this country, followed closely by Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt as the third and fourth most-tracked countries.
The reports caused the Indian government to voice their concerns over the issue. Speaking on the reports, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “Yes, we are concerned and surprised over it. We feel that the Cyber Security Dialogue coordinated by the National Security Councils on both sides is the appropriate forum to discuss such issues.”
“We intend to seek information and details during consultations between interlocutors on both sides on this matter. If Indian laws relating to privacy of information about ordinary Indian citizens have been violated, surely we will find it unacceptable.”
Akbaruddin further added that the spy program was an evolving concept, “We will take it as it evolves and have a better understanding and a clearer paradigm of how to tackle this issue once broader parameters in its entirety are available for us ” according to TOI.
In a top secret NSA “global heat map” contains a snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, which shows that on March 2013 the agency collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide. The heat map gives each nation a colour code ranging from green (least subjected to surveillance) to yellow, orange and red (most surveillance) based on the extent of surveillance by the NSA.
The revelations come at a time when The Guardian revealed the identity of a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, Edward Snowden, to be the whistleblower behind one of the most significant leaks in US political history. Citizens around the world may have been subjected to unauthorised internet monitoring via the NSA. Companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple are currently seeking transparency to maintain trust with the US government after reports of intelligence gathered from social media platforms have surfaced. It has emerged that the US government was given access to their customers’ data online via the PRISM programme operated by the NSA.
India has taken a strong stance on the US surveillance reports. CPM have said in a statement that India should join hands with other countries to make companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Facebook take responsibility for such kind of intrusive intelligence gathering. “India must also press for an immediate initiative to democratise Internet governance and ensure that the US intelligence agencies do not override the sovereignty of the countries and rights of individuals.”
The US government has launched an internal review to seek the damages the security leaks have caused as they are under pressure from companies like Google Inc and Facebook to be more transparent and less secretive about their surveillance programs.
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