The government is set to launch its centralized monitoring system which will track IMEI numbers of all mobiles, which it says is for finding stolen or lost devices.
Legal tracking and monitoring of mobile phones through their IMEI numbers is all set to start next month. This tracking involves lost mobiles phones and stolen devices.
But going by global trends, this might signal at something more drastic – wherein all your online activity from your mobile device may be monitored.
Is the system a cause for concern?
Mobile phones are being tracked and monitored. The government is still doing it, albeit in an unstructured manner. With the main centralized system located in Delhi, there are 21 regional monitoring systems across 22 telecom circles.
Some may see it as the ‘best part’. The government officials will no longer have to go through a telecom operator. This means that the government officials will have somewhat of a free-reign over this service.
Integrating monitoring system with CMS
Via a written reply in Rajya Sabha, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad revealed the following :
Presently the internet monitoring system which exists is under consideration for integration with the centralized monitoring system.Ravi Shankar Prasad
Centre for Development of Telematics ( C-DoT) is spearheading a project called Central Equipment Identity Register (CIER). It is pending approval and one final confirmation by the telecom minister before it commences tracking of phones through their IMEI numbers.
Government officials can track the phone even if it is activated on another network, as in if the SIM is changed. This brings every phone under a watchful eye. Officials can then track the phone in an instant.
Tracking and monitoring around the world
The collection itself is lawful and legal. But the case of Cambridge Analytica stands to be a precautionary example. They sold the data collected which was not in conformity with the law.
This is not the only case in which data is being collected in the name of security. The Washington Post published an article titled ‘How the NSA is tracking people right now’.
They talked about the way the NSA tracks people all in the name of ‘target development’. They collect data in bulk. However, they say that it is ‘incidental’. They are still collecting unwanted ‘data’.
The Right to Privacy is perhaps a basic right that people should ideally have but it often has to do with concealment rather than actual privacy and personal space. The right borders on hypocrisy. Can the government be trusted with access to unhindered surveillance?