Indian Government Launches Internet Monitoring System ‘Netra’

The Indian Government is soon launching defense ministry’s spy Internet monitoring system called ‘Netra’ which will be capable to detect suspicious words like ‘attack’, ‘bomb’, ‘blast’ or ‘kill’ in real time on social media, emails, instant messaging services, blogs and others, reports The Economic Times.

ET also quotes a note from the telecom department, that mentions, the system will be able to capture any dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype or Google Talk.

“Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat are currently testing ‘Netra’, which will be deployed by all national security agencies. The specifications of the ‘Netra’ system can be taken as frozen following tests by the Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat, and can be considered for providing multiple user access to security agencies,” it adds.

The ‘Netra’ internet surveillance system has been developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

To accelerate its deployment, the home ministry will shortly approach DRDO to assign additional manpower resources to Bangalore-based CAIR, which is also working with the government’s telecom technology arm, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) to formalise a strategy for tracking internet use.

The ‘Netra’ deployment strategy was recently discussed by an apex inter-ministerial group headed by DoT’s member (technology) and included top officials of the Cabinet Secretariat, home ministry, DRDO, CAIR, Intelligence Bureau, C-DoT and Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The panel also deliberated on ways to respond to computer security incidents, track system vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices across the country.

During the meeting, it was also decided that 300 GB of storage space for intercepted internet traffic would be given to a maximum three security agencies, including the IB and Cabinet Secretariat, while an extra 100 GB would be assigned to the remaining law enforcement agencies, the minutes of the inter-ministerial panel meeting showed. Deployment of ‘Netra’ by security agencies is slated to pave the way for a national internet scanning & coordination centre, which India plans to establish along the lines of existing facilities in the UK, US, China and Iran.

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