“Surveillance” is not a new thing, Indian Police and Justice System has been using their monitoring system for a long time, but this “Mass Surveillance System” is going to be something big and something new in India. Sure, people’s privacy will be violated a lot but, crimes will be at it’s lower stage too. Hence, it’s upto us what we choose, Privacy or Lower Crime Rate? Our government has surely selected the second option, but the experts said:
It is a mass surveillance system that gathers data in public places without there being an underlying cause to do so. Without a data protection law and an electronic surveillance framework, it can lead to social policing and control.
What is A Mass Surveillance System and How Can it Help Us?
Mass Surveillance is nothing but a 360-degree data collection centre about every citizen of a country. This system varies from country to country based on their laws and regulations. For example, in India there’s a system called NATGRID which collects data of each individual ranging from land records, Internet logs, air and rail PNR, phone records, gun records, driving license, property records, insurance, and income tax records etc. If connected with UIDAI, the system will be able to fetch all our details since AADHAAR is now connected with our Mobile Numbers, Bank Accounts, PAN Cards etc.
To make the picture more clear, let’s consider this real-life situation: Suppose you are purchasing a Rail ticket from IRCTC using your debit card. The surveillance system will first check the transaction’s payment method i.e., your debit card. Then it will fetch the associated AADHAAR from the bank’s database and then it will log the transaction against your ID in the surveillance database. This is why many data security consultants had opposed the idea of AADHAAR.
Mass Surveillance, is it a Good Thing or Bad? Should You Be Worried About?
Definitely, it is a good idea for catching the criminals and monitoring their activities, but it’s bad when this system is in wrong hands. Yes, the system will be only available to the Government Security Agencies, but not all of them are honest. Since the system will be tracking every single citizen, eventually the agencies will have access to all our personal data which we may not want to share with the government.
Without our knowledge slowly this Mass Survillance is already at it’s place. Particularly in the state of Delhi, Punjab, Gujrat. Police are already using face recognition softwares throughout these states. Which helped them to reduce the crime by a huge rate.
How They Will be Tracking Us?
Our daily steps has been recored by thousands of CCTV cameras around the country everyday. The Mass Survillance system will have access to the connected CCTVs and it will be able to access the recordings anytime. Besides, CCTVs installed by the government will store the recordings at a single place for better accessibility by the program.
Internet Traffic Analysis
There is already a program called NETRA (Network Traffic Analysis System) which is a realtime surveillance software developed by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This software is already working since 2014 and primarily used by the Indian spy agencies. This system monitors all internet activites and reports to the agencies when necessary. Source: CIS-INDIA.ORG
AI Faceial Recognition Systems
Many metro stations and airports are about to be fitted with AI Facial Recognition systems, which will allow commuters to use their tickets, passes without any human interaction. That will surely reduce the hessle a lot, but it will also store the data and movements for the Mass Survillance System. Recently Indian Railways has expressed their plans to introduce facial recognition at all major railstations and to use it with existing criminal databases to indentify the criminals. Source: Outlookindia.com
Encrypted, Anonymous Data Tracking Through Banking, Mobiles
As explained earlier, everything is now connected through AADHAAR. So all kind of banking transactions to SMSes can be tracked by the system (if approved by the law). Based on the numeric values, the system will be able to set triggers and if the trigger is tipped, the system will be able to monitor the person automatically.
So, How to Save Yourself from this Mass Survillance?
Well, the answers is You Can’t. When the system is in effect, the only way to stop tracking your all activities are to move to stoneage, which is not possible. So, we have to live with that.
This kind of system is not new and it’s been at it’s place since 26/11 happened. Our government has been planning and executing a lot to make our life more safe. This mass surveillance system is nothing but a connected service for the security agencies where they will be able to access all these existing tools along with the new ones from a single point. Hence, for the Common Man there will be no difference with or without this system. Our lifes will be the same, possibly much secured with this system in place.
Sources: NDTV, Wikipedia, Google.