NEW DELHI: Around 9,000 orders for interception of phones and around 500 emails were issued every month when UPA was in office, an answer to an RTI query in 2013 revealed. In its response, the government had also provided a list of agencies that were empowered to intercept.

The list featured all the agencies, barring Delhi police, that have been named by the Centre. “On an average, between 7,500 to 9,000 orders for interception of telephones are issued by the central government every month. On an average between 300 to 500 orders for interception of emails are issued by central government per month” government told RTI applicant, Delhi resident Prosenjit Mondal, in 2013.

The current government said that the response proves that the home ministry’s notification of Friday where it listed the agencies which were authorised to monitor information on electronic devices was only a formal reiteration of what was already being practiced.

“The only difference is that the current government decided to notify 10 agencies as being authorised to carry out interceptions,” said a senior MHA source.

“Isn’t it it strange who approved the procedure put in place the system are now talking about snooping raj”, he said. The government has argued that section 69 of the IT Act was amended in 2008, when DMK leader A Raja was communication and information technology minister and Congress’s Shivraj Patil the home minister. Later, the rules under section 69 of IT Act were framed in 2009, when Raja held the same charge and P Chidambaram was home minister. The government sources also said that number of intercepts was low in keeping with population and the range of criminal and terrorist activities that are being tracked.

“As many as 9,000 phones & 500 emails were tapped monthly in UPA 2, a 2013 RTI revealed. That’s 300 phones & 20 emails tapped- With its history of emergency & post office amendment bill, Congress should NOT be hypocritical about steps to ensure national security”, Union minister for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted.

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