The government of India has authorised as many as 10 central agencies to tap phones, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Intelligence Bureau, the Ministry of Home Affairs told the Lok Sabha today, adding the power of telephone interception is vested and the agencies have to take the Union Home Secretary's approval before putting anyone on surveillance.
The government's reply came in response to questions related to tapping of WhatsApp calls and messages.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha that Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, empowers the central government or a state government to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted, any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of the country.
"This power of interception is to be executed as per the provisions of law, rules and SoPs. Easy such case is approved by the Union Home Secretary in case of central government and by the Home Secretary of the state concerned in case of the state government," he said in a written reply to a question.
The competent authority in the central government has authorised 10 agencies for the purpose: Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, National Investigation Agency, R&AW, Directorate of Signal Intelligence and Delhi Police Commissioner.