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Government to launch ‘Netra’ for internet surveillance

16/12/2013

The Indian government is going to launch an internet spy system for the defense ministry, which will be called as ‘Netra’. This internet spy system will have the capability of detecting words like ‘kill’ , ‘bomb’, ‘attack’ and ‘blast’ instantly from the reams of emails, tweets, instant messaging transcript, status updates, internet calls , blogs and forums.

The system will also be able to capture any dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype or Google Talk, says a telecom department note seen by ET. “Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat are currently testing ‘Netra’, which will be deployed by all national security agencies,” the note says. “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.

Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) together have developed the ‘Netra’ internet surveillance system.

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To speed up its deployment, the home ministry will soon approach DRDO to allocate 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.

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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