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Email snooping up, tapping down

New Delhi, Nov. 28 (PTI): The rate of monitoring email accounts by security agencies saw a 36 per cent jump in September while phone-tapping during the month came down.

According to an official note, the number of email accounts being screened rose to 1,601 as on September 30 from 1,174 at the end of August — an increase of 36.4 per cent. The note said 10,490 phones across the country were monitored by various security agencies. The number of phones tapped in August stood at 10,648.

A high-level committee that confirmed the snooping orders issued by the Union home secretary for phones saw 1,915 fresh requests being made from the Intelligence Bureau, 11 from the Enforcement Directorate and 492 from Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.

The interception under the Indian Telegraph Act is ordered by various intelligence agencies, police forces and the army, which is later confirmed by a committee of cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, telecom secretary R. Chandrasekhar and law secretary B.A. Agarwal.

The committee cleared a fresh request for monitoring 876 emails by the Intelligence Bureau and the army’s signal intelligence, the note said.

During September, the monitoring of 449 email accounts was stopped. Already, 725 email accounts were being monitored by the two agencies.

The Intelligence Bureau topped the chart, monitoring nearly 5,500 phones out of which over 1,915 requests were made in September alone and was followed by Andhra Pradesh police which made 549 requests in the month, besides keeping under surveillance 755 others, sources said.

The committee rejected six requests made by intelligence agencies and demanded more clarifications on public emergency or public safety.