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When it comes to surveillance, the most mainstream argument is that the majority of India's population lives below the poverty line and that surveillance is an elitist issue - and not a "real" issue which affects the masses.
Given that the majority of India's population has mobile phones and that the Indian government is currently implementing the Central Monitoring System (CMS) which aims at intercepting all telecommunications (and Internet communications), surveillance does not appear to be an elitist issue. Given that the UID scheme aims at collecting the biometric data of all citizens residing in India and that most BPL cash programmes require UID registration, surveillance appears to be an issue which (unfortunately) affects the 1.2 billion people currently living in India. And this is to say the least.
As part of the Privacy Project, the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bangalore, India, is investigating surveillance within the country. The project is funded by Privacy International and aims to map out various forms of surveillance in India, ranging from drones, CCTV cameras and GPS tracking equipment to phone and Internet monitoring gear.
This lecture aims to present the research that Maria Xynou has undertaken at the CIS so far, which includes data on the various surveillance technology companies operating in India and the type of spy gear they sell to Indian law enforcement agencies. This research also includes the presentation of India's various controversial surveillance schemes, with an emphasis on the Central Monitoring System (CMS) which unlawfully enables the interception of all telecommunications and Internet communications.
India is currently implementing the world's largest biometric data collection and interception of communications schemes. The aim of this lecture is to present India's scary mass surveillance and to discuss its implications on the right to privacy and other human rights.