The Union Home Ministry has written to the Department of Telecom (DoT), asking it “to ensure effective monitoring of Facebook and Twitter“. The Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Milind Deora, wrote in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha dealing with security issues arising from the social networks, that monitoring the sites would strengthen cyber security paraphernalia. Deora said, “The telecom service providers (already) provide facilities for lawful interception and monitoring of communication flowing through their network including communications from social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.” When data is encrypted, he said the department makes the effort to obtain lawful access to it.
The Indian government wants a private eye
Sunil Abraham, at the Center for Internet and Society said that the blanket policies on internet surveillance that the government imposes are a waste of effort and money. “People advocating greater surveillance don't understand how the web works. In some cases, if there is evidence, targeted monitoring can be done but if governments wants to go through each tweet and every status update, it's just waste of money and resources. Agencies involved in monitoring can do better work by focusing on core issues. This will also save ordinary law-abiding citizens from unnecessary harassment,” he said.
Facebook and Twitter have policies where they don't share information stored on their servers without a court order or a subpoena. If such an order or subpoena was received, Twitter said that they will inform their users in question before sharing their information.