Netizens welcome central cyber plan

The home ministry’s decision to set up a central cyber surveillance agency has ruffled a few feathers in the country that already boasts of a host of intelligence cells.

The idea has been broadly termed as a welcome one but there are voices of dissent about why one more cell needs to be added to the list.

India boasts of a number of government agencies tracking cyber crime, including the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), CERT-in, DRDO, Department of Electronics and IT, RAW, Intelligence Bureau, and CBI.

After the recent exodus of people from the northeast spurred by instigative social media messages, home ministry and PMO officials hit upon the idea of setting up a central cyber surveillance agency that can give forewarnings about such instances.

Experts in the field are happy that the government has finally woken up but are worried that this may add to the confusion.

“NTRO was mainly set up on the lines of NSA of the US, as the country’s dedicated technical intelligence agency after the Kargil conflict in 1999. However, it is not being put to the right use,” said J. Prasanna, vice-president of Cyber Society of India.

“When we create too many organisations, we are separating our skill force, which is not good,” he said.

A senior official at the defence ministry expressed similar sentiments. “NTRO is seriously lacking in manpower, technical equipment and even in advanced technology. It would be better to strengthen its critical infrastructure and delegate powers else there will only be tussle over jurisdiction will arise,” said the official.

“Social media is only one aspect and the tip of the cyber war. We have not even addressed one-tenth of the problem,” warned Gemini Ramamurthy, member of many national cybercrime committees and founder-director of CYSI.

“There are several serious issues that need to be addressed. Social network monitoring could be done away with by appointing four or five special officers,” he said.

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