Central Monitoring System (CMS) ; thoughts

Do you support CMS ?

  • Yes, anything for country.

    Votes: 2 40.0%
  • No, privacy is first priority.

    Votes: 3 60.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Staff member

India has launched a wide-ranging surveillance program called Central Monitoring System (CMS), that will give its security agencies and even income tax officials the ability to tap directly into e-mails and phone calls without oversight by courts or parliament, several sources said.

The expanded surveillance in the world's most populous democracy, which the government says will help safeguard national security, has alarmed privacy advocates at a time when allegations of massive US digital snooping beyond American shores has set off a global furor.

Eventually it will be able to target any of India's 900 million landline and mobile phone subscribers and 120 million Internet users.

Budget of 600 cr (and that is just for the infrastructure) has already been allocated; under DoT (Department of Telecom).

All this at a central facility that is in the process of coming up on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road (NCR).

PRISM, and now this. I'm happy for the fact that at least it's not happening under the hood as PRISM. Still, do we need to worry ?

Why ?

> No rules, regulations or whatever have been defined or stated, to clear the boundaries of the intriguing CMS.

> Officials beholding the power will not be needing any kind of court orders or warrants, which were earlier mandatory, to proceed with any kind of surveillance. This creates the biggest question !! Judiciary is the only thing left in our country on which we can trust and if any agency/personnel can have the power to bypass it, then only god can stop him, at least his self-conscience can't. Power spoils, period.

> Though govt has been saying CMS won't be invading privacy, but the way CMS is being implemented, the question over privacy concerns are natural and inevitable. And no clear answers have been given regarding this.

Till now, only nine agencies - the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, Economic Intelligence Bureau, the Directorate of Revenue, Income Tax Department, Defence Intelligence Agency, Narcotics Control Bureau and the National Investigation Agency - are permitted by law, under the Telegraph Act of 1885 and the Information Technology Act of 2008, to covertly perform electronic surveillance, including telephone tapping, over their targets.
Count one more, NTRO, a surveillance specific agency directly under PMO.

Let me tell you some hilarious history of the notorious NTRO.

The fledgling, National Technical Research Organisation had tried to penetrate the user data of American internet service providers, including Google, Yahoo! and Skype, between 2006-2007. Although it failed to crack that the agency routinely accessed servers of some Indian providers like Rediffmail and Sify.

Sources in the security establishment revealed that the NTRO's bid to find surreptitious access to the US service provider giants "continues", though their "competence remains suspect" (lol :)) ) in the face of the advanced encryption standards employed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Apple, Skype, Facebook and Twitter among others. The objective of the NTRO, which is not authorized by law to undertake electronics surveillance or signals interception within India, was to access emails, chats and photographs besides login details of users.

Sources recalled that the "exercise to penetrate" US servers of the American ISPs began in 2006-2007, but these attempts by the NTRO failed to produce tangible results. Efforts to breach the servers continue, through trapdoors.

NTRO even went to hack NIC servers and stole govt data. A govt agency stealing govt data ! :|


Still, I seriously liked, and support NTRO's act of "trying" to hack uncle Sam :D.

Why not to worry ?

> The pace at which terrorism and other crimes are increasing, and more importantly, their easy escaping (because its INDIA), we need an centrally organised system which can keep a track over all of the things.

> I, personally, am even fine with a bit of privacy breach if the original motto (crime_crackdown, if at all it is) is fulfilled.

> AK47/M4 vs .22 Caliber guns ? The GenX/Y/Z uses the latest tech to form every moment of their life, and the same with criminals. WiFi breach and its outcomes are just a trailer. So India has also geared itself to be self-reliant in cyber (war) arena and the first bullet is fired. CMS, upcoming Cyber Security Framework / Cyber Security Policy along with National Cyber Coordination Centre, et al are initiatives. And they may "actually" build the image of India as a true IT giant.

In a way, it seems the demand of the time, if only implemented in a correct way. But this "if" always spoils the party. I sincerely hope, this time, it doesn't.

What are your thoughts ?

PS: I have mixed many topics into one, can't really stick to one while contemplating over it.


Super Moderator
Staff member
it is naive to think that this CMS will help in preventing terrorist attacks.USA had some info about 9/11 attacks before it happened but no one to analyze it among tons of data.until we have true AIs to analyze data "human analysis" will remain as the most crucial factor & on this account Indian security agencies fail miserably.in fact no one in India in places of power truly understands the importance of intelligence analyst.


Staff member
If proper technology with efficient human power is implemented, then I believe terror attacks can be at least lessened by a good margin. May be US failed to prevent 9/11 due to lack of seriousness, but after it ?


Super Moderator
Staff member
that's a big if considering the state of DRDO.simply speaking Indian bureaucracy & politicians don't know the meaning of "efficient human resources".as for USA pre-9/11 the lack of seriousness caused it to rely too much on technology/military instead of investing in human resources & a good example of this was almost no good arab/similar languages translators in FBI/NSA/CIA etc.what's the point in recording a suspicious arab conversation if there is no one to translate & analyze it for its true meaning?
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