Like many other countries, India has been steadily extending its national surveillance capabilities. We wrote about its main Central Monitoring System (CMS) back in May last year, with more details in July. In news that shocked no one, we discovered in September that illegal surveillance is already taking place. And now, via The Economic Times, we learn that India has built another, completely independent system for spying on its citizens:
The government will shortly launch 'Netra', the defence ministry's internet spy system that will be capable of detecting words like 'attack', 'bomb', 'blast' or 'kill' in a matter of seconds from reams of tweets, status updates, emails, instant messaging transcripts, internet calls, blogs and forums.The Hacker News site has more details of how the system will work, with information being gathered from boxes placed on the premises of ISPs:
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 [Economic Times]. "
NETRA is a hardware device, and will be installed at ISP (Internet service provider) level on more than 1000 locations. Each location will be called as "Node", with 300GB of storage space. So, there are 1000 nodes x 300GB = 300,000GB of total space is initially decided to set up.A year ago, news that countries like India were setting up a nationwide surveillance system was met with a self-righteous chorus of disapproval from many Western countries. Today, India can have two of them, and the response is silence. That's a measure of how the West has lost whatever moral high ground it once had, largely thanks to the NSA's dragnet approach that makes it well-nigh impossible for the Five Eyes club and friends to criticize other nations for attempting to emulate it.