Saturday, January 2, 2016

[Editorial # 31] Revive NATGRID with safeguards: The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 2nd January 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer -writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]
The Central government’s decision to revive NATGRID (National Intelligence Grid) is a welcome move in the fight against terrorism, but it calls for caution and nuanced planning in the way it would be structured. According to the existing plan, NATGRID will become a secure centralised database to stream sensitive information from 21 sets of data sources such as banks, credit cards, visa, immigration and train and air travel details, as well as from various intelligence agencies. The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism. NATGRID was among the ambitious slew of intelligence reforms undertaken in the wake of the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. Like NATGRID, most of these proposed reforms in the security establishment have not fully materialised, yet again serving as a reminder that India’s memory is embarrassingly short.
In a data-driven, digitised world, it would be foolhardy to ignore the power of big data and its potential to provide real time tip-offs and predictive intelligence to deal with the terrorist threat. Over the last two decades or so, during which the post-Cold War chaos resulted in many violent non-state actors setting up shop, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence. Social media and other platforms have become recruitment sites and propaganda machines for terrorist groups, and formal banking channels are used as much as informal ones to transact terror funding. In those same oceans of information are trends and information that could avert terrorist strikes. However, appreciation of the power of digital databases to tackle terror must be accompanied by deep concern about their possible misuse. The Snowden files are just one pointer to the widespread misuse in recent years of surveillance capabilities to compromise individual privacy and even violate national sovereignty. Increasingly, there is also academic evidence to show that states are applying excessive force and surveillance to tackle terrorism. The NATGRID’s efforts must be placed against these realities before the government rushes into reviving it. When so much sensitive information about individuals is available on a single source, the potential for its misuse would dramatically go up. The poor track record of the Indian security and intelligence agencies on individual privacy and liberty must be kept in mind as the National Democratic Alliance government tries to nurture NATGRID, which has failed to take off despite the aggressive push by the previous United Progressive Alliance government. The overdue initiative to revive NATGRID must therefore be accompanied by action on the even longer-pending need to have effective oversight of intelligence.
Questions
1. What is NATGRID? What is its significance? (200 words)
2. How does NATGRID function? 
3. Explain the following terms/phrases (50 words each):
  • Terrorism
  • Intelligence
  • Non-State Actors
  • Social Media
  • Snowden Files

4. What is Big Data? What are various applications of Big Data? 
5.  How can the governments use Big Data for improving governance?
6. How can Social Media pose a threat to national security? Explain with examples.
7.  The editor expresses deep concern about the possible misuses of using digital databases for handling terror. Is this concern justified? How?
8. What apart from NATGRID are included in India's counter terrorism infrastructure? 
9. What in your opinion should be the steps taken by the government to tackle the menace of terrorism? (200 words)
10. India has performed well in terms of policy decisions but fails miserably when it comes to implementation. Comment on the statement throwing light on the preparedness of India to deal with other 26/11 type exigencies. (200 words)

12 comments:

  1. 1. What is NATGRID? What is its significance? (200 words)
    NATGRID acronym of NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE GRID is a tool which is used to stream sensitive data regarding any individual . The information will be drawn from 21 secure sources such as banking, passport, pan no, mobile no, residential address etc mainly used to handle terror related cases on a case to case basis.
    It provides a single window platform of sensitive details for the authorised persons to look at the details of individual which is otherwise breach of right to privacy.
    SIGNIFICANCE:
    1. In the rise of Terrorism across the world NATGRID will help to sniff out the radicalised indians who are in contact with the ISIS
    2. The fund tranfer to the ISIS can be identified from india
    3.reduces the need of cooperation among states for data as it is available on national platform
    4.any suspected moves by any person can be checked with his data in NATGRID which mirrors the individual in virtual world

    ReplyDelete
  2. 2. How does NATGRID function?
    All the information about the individual has to be loaded in the database by respective states . This will be done by the police in regional areas.
    The grid will connect the databases of all the states available for the investigating agencies in sensitive issues to promote counter-terrorism and curb terror financing.
    NATGRID is a tool but not central agencies like NIA or NCTC

    ReplyDelete
  3. 3. Explain the following terms/phrases (50 words each):
    Terrorism
    Intelligence
    Non-State Actors
    Social Media
    Snowden Files
    A. TERRORISM:
    It is an act of creating fear in the hearts of the people through the use of violence whhich is unacceptable legally.
    Intelligence:it has been defined in many ways from memory to logic along with selfawareness, emotional knowledge, planning , creativity and problem solving.
    Non-state actors:an individual or organization that has significant political influence but is not allied to any particular country or state.
    social media:-websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
    snowdown files:snowdown is an whistleblower who brought the issues of US's NSA spying the other country details in the limelight. these file are called snowdown files which shows the scale of mass survivle programme carried out by US.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 4. What is Big Data? What are various applications of Big Data?
    A.with the increase of digital literacy across the world,more and more date is being put on the internet. With the rise of data it would be extremely difficult with the traditional techniques
    to stream the data.Such a huge amount of it is called big data.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 5. How can the governments use Big Data for improving governance?
    A.Govt can use Big Data for
    social measures:-
    1. provide subsidy to the bank account of the targeted individual
    2.can ensure direct benefit transfer schemes
    3.scholar ships, visas, passports can be made available to beneficiaries online
    4.MNREGA wages
    security issues:
    1. can be made easy access of personnel information on NATGRID to intelligence agencies
    2. can promote Internet of Things in years to come.
    3.can prohibit terror financing
    4.can trace the suspicious persons on net
    5.increase the accuracy of prediction

    ReplyDelete
  6. 6. How can Social Media pose a threat to national security? Explain with examples.
    A.due to lightning speed by which the data travels, any false data transfer can go on viral on the inernet . for instance the videos that were uploaded lead to muzaffarnagar riots.
    Any false speculation can lead to drastic change in the stock markets.
    The online availability of the information which has to be secured especially during terrorist operations will add fuel to the fire .During Mumbai attacks terrorists got information from their operations in TAJ hotel due to the presence of social media.
    Any anti-state activities by the citizens can get momentum across other places due to communication gulf bridged by the social media.
    Any confidential details that is available or discussed in the forums will be a good inputs for cyber attacks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 7. The editor expresses deep concern about the possible misuses of using digital databases for handling terror. Is this concern justified? How?
    A. The data collection at the ground level doesnot reflect the reality in many cases.
    for instance it is not difficult to get driving lincense eventhough one maynot know how to drive. The SOCIO-ECONOMIC CASTE CENSUS collected doesnot galvanize the reality as people tend to lie in matters of number of gas licensus, vehicles, subsidies from the government expecting the truth will exempt their benefits of the schemes.
    Hence, annual income, ration facilities etc are all getting their numericals that benefit the citizen rather than reality.
    Hence the cutting edge inovation of natgrid is difficult to acieve its objectives unless the right methodology in collecting the data is implemented .

    ReplyDelete
  8. 8. What apart from NATGRID are included in India's counter terrorism infrastructure?
    A. Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees national police, paramilitaries, and domestic intelligence gathering. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is the external intelligence agency and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), a division of the Home Affairs Ministry, collects intelligence inside India. A Joint Intelligence Committee analyzes intelligence data from RAW and IB as well as from a handful of military intelligence agencies, which usually provide tactical information gathered while carrying out counterterrorist operations.
    NIA was setup in 2010 in the wake of 2008 attacks .

    ReplyDelete
  9. 10. India has performed well in terms of policy decisions but fails miserably when it comes to implementation. Comment on the statement throwing light on the preparedness of India to deal with other 26/11 type exigencies. (200 words)
    A. National Security Act, 1980 and
    the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
    Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002
    All the laws are well covered regarding the details of the counter-terrorism measures. However, the ground reality is different.
    causes of failure:
    1.no exact definition of terrorism which in turns make several get away through .
    2. lack of coordination between central and state intelligence agencies
    3.social media became a platform for recruiting and terror financing which is a ocean of data which is difficult to sniff the terror related data
    4.lack of trained professionals with regards to artificial intelligence in india
    5.no dedicated staff to deal with data surveillence round the clock
    6.psychological ego betwween the central , state and local agencies to share the data.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i wrote ans for causes for the terrorism

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