Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Information and Communications Technology [Paper-II]: Nature and Scope of ICT, ICT and Governance, Cyber Security concerns – National Cyber Crime Policy
The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project will be operational by December 31, 2020.
What is NATGRID?
- It is an ambitious counter terrorism programme and a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure.
- The project was initially started in 2009 with a budget of 2,800 crore.
- It is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them together on one platform.
- The data recovery centre of the NATGRID has been constructed in Bengaluru and its headquarters is nearing completion in Delhi.
Need for NATGRID
- The necessity for the NATGRID came after India’s worst terror attack in Mumbai in 2009.
- Lack of real time information was one of the major hurdles in detecting US terror suspect David Headley’s movement across the country during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009.
- The danger from not having a sophisticated tool like the NATGRID is that it forces the police to rely on harsh and coercive means to extract information in a crude and degrading fashion.
- It will enable multiple security and intelligence agencies to access a database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details, among others, from a common platform.
- NATGRID links intelligence and investigation agencies.
Who can access the NATGRID data?
- The 10 user agencies will be linked independently with certain databases which will be procured from 21 providing organisations including telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc. to generate intelligence inputs.
- Initially, no state agencies will be given direct access to the NATGRID data.
- However, whenever any relevant information is required, they can approach the NATGRID through any of the 10 user agencies.
- NATGRID is facing opposition mainly because of the possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
- Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
- The risk of manipulation comes both from within and outside the security agencies. It is criticised that individual data can be misused for political purposes by different agencies that have access to the data base.
- It is alleged that the idea also infringes upon the right to privacy. But the supporters of NATGRID argue that the cost of the right to privacy should be measured against the cost of lives lost.