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Human rights group slams Indian gov't for its snooping system


08:28, June 08, 2013

NEW DELHI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- A leading human rights campaign group on Friday criticized the Indian government for rolling out a new monitoring system which gives it sweeping power to keep a tab on all phone and Internet connections across the country, warning it will threaten people's privacy.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Central Monitoring System, rolled out by the government in April "to lawfully intercept Internet and telephone services", will hamper to a large extent privacy and freedom of expression of the people, given that India' s existing privacy laws are not that strong.

"The Indian government's centralized monitoring is chilling, given its reckless and irresponsible use of the sedition and Internet laws. New surveillance capabilities have been used around the world to target critics, journalists, and human rights activists," Cynthia Wong of Human Rights Watch said.

The Indian government's scattered clampdown on social media in the past has been slammed by human rights activists who have time and again demanded the scrapping of a controversial section of the IT Act under which a number of netizens were earlier arrested for posting "unsuitable" remarks on websites.

The human rights group's warning came in the wake of the U.S. government admitting to secretly gathering information on foreigners overseas for six years from that country's largest Internet companies like Google and Facebook in search of national security threats.

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