[Reader-list] INDIA: Email users beware, Big Brother is watching

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at mnet.fr
Mon Dec 24 16:36:55 IST 2001

The Times of India

Email users beware, Big Brother is watching
NEW DELHI: The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has prepared a list of new 
keywords that are to be used to intercept mails emanating from IP 
addresses in India.
The move comes after investigations have revealed that Mohammad alias 
'Burger,' who led the Parliament attack, was in constant touch with 
his counterparts in Pakistan as well as within India through email.
A laptop has been recovered from the terrorists as well, the contents 
of which are under investigation. The IB earlier reported that 
terrorists connected to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish are 

Till now, the IB had concentrated more on email IDs with reference to 
obvious giveaways such as Kashmir, Lashkar, Pakistan, Musharraf etc. 
For example, an email ID such as Lashkar at hotmail.com should be under 
the surveillance of the IB.
The IB has now gone further and prepared a new list of keywords used 
in the copy of mails that will be intercepted.

The system works like this: A software filters mails that repeatedly 
use the words that the IB has shortlisted. The more obvious keywords 
would include Jaish, Kashmir, Lashkar. Others are attack, kill, 
rocket. Mails with repeated reference to Arab names will also be 
under surveillance.
Emails that carry names of Indian political leaders will also be 
under surveillance. However, the software can't decipher code words 
since they can be common words. Interestingly, the CIA is using the 
same software with a good success rate.
"The task of monitoring such mails is humungous. Hence, for now, we 
will be monitoring mails that have several references to the keywords 
that we have identified," says a senior IB official.
According to the official: "The IB is the only Indian intelligence 
Agency that has the ability to intercept mails. None of the other 
agencies involved in investigations-the Delhi Police, the Central 
Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)-have 
the ability to intercept mails. Only the CIA has similar 

Commenting on the issue of invasion of privacy of an individual, the 
official said: "This exercise is similar to the secret cellphone 
tapping of suspects involved in hawala as well as cricket 
match-fixing, that was implemented by the Delhi Police. It met with a 
lot of success. The issue of intercepting mail is being done in the 
interest of national security."

The official, however, also admitted that the exercise of 
intercepting mails will present a logistical nightmare given the huge 
mass of mails emanating from India. 

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