India's New Surveillance System Raises Concerns for Privacy and Free Expression, Says Human Rights Watch

2023-05-02 08:35:42 By : admin
India's New Guard Monitoring System Threatens Rights of Privacy and Free Expression

In a bid to enhance national security, the Indian government has launched a new monitoring system to track the use of phones and the Internet by its citizens. The system, known as the Guard Monitoring System, has raised concerns over potential violations of individual rights to privacy and free expression.
India: New Monitoring System Threatens Rights | Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights around the world, has called on the Indian government to enact clear laws to ensure that the increased surveillance does not undermine these fundamental rights.

The Guard Monitoring System, launched in early 2021, is designed to monitor all forms of electronic communication, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media activity. Under the system, all companies that provide communication services in India will be required to provide the government with real-time access to their users' data.

According to HRW, the new monitoring system is not backed by any clear legal framework or oversight mechanism to protect citizens' rights to privacy and free expression. The organization further notes that the Indian government has been known to use surveillance tools in the past to target dissidents, journalists, and human rights defenders.

The introduction of the Guard Monitoring System has raised concerns among civil society groups, who fear that the Indian government may use the system to target political opponents and suppress free speech. The system's lack of transparency and accountability has further heightened these fears.

In response to these concerns, HRW has called on the Indian government to enact clear laws and regulations to ensure that the use of electronic surveillance tools is in line with international human rights standards. The organization has also called for an independent oversight mechanism to monitor the use of surveillance tools by the government and hold it accountable for any abuses.

The use of electronic surveillance tools by governments around the world has been a growing concern in recent years, with many countries using these tools to monitor their citizens' activities on the Internet and social media. Such surveillance can have a chilling effect on free speech and dissent, as people may self-censor out of fear of being monitored or targeted by the government.

India's new Guard Monitoring System is therefore a cause for concern, particularly in the absence of clear legal protections and oversight mechanisms to safeguard citizens' rights. As HRW notes, the Indian government must act swiftly to address these concerns and ensure that the system is used only in accordance with international human rights standards. Anything less would be a betrayal of the fundamental rights of Indian citizens.