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US, India: On the road to surveillance

US: CNET yesterday reported that the FBI has recently formed a secretive surveillance unit Domestic Communications Assistance Center, or DCAC to develop new electronic surveillance technologies. The ambition is to invent technology that will let police more readily eavesdrop on Internet and wireless communications.

DCAC’s mandate covers everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order. It’s also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local, and other federal police.

In a statement sent to Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, FBI has said “The FBI along with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continue in their efforts to establish the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center (NDCAC).”

FBI has been tight-lipped about this. CNET pieced together information through interviews and a review of internal government documents.

India: On May 16 the National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, gave a speech at the launch of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses Task Force report on India’s Cyber Security Challenges. According to the excerpts of this speech published in The Hindu “There is need to find indigenous technologies and equipment to deal with this constant and undeclared threat.”

“While the NTRO is tasked to deal with the protection of our critical security cyber infrastructure, institutions like CERT-IN have proved their worth during events like the Commonwealth Games in defending our open civil systems. We are making a beginning in putting in place a system of certification and responsibility for telecommunication equipment and are working on procedures and protocols which will rationalise communication interception and monitoring.”

References:

(1)    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57439734-83/fbi-quietly-forms-secretive-net-surveillance-unit/?tag=rb_content;contentBody

(2)    https://plus.google.com/112961607570158342254/posts/MAaZsRFrJ6a

(3)    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article3429560.ece

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