11 April, 2021

A Fox On A Fishing Expedition

A new off-the-air GSM device tracks phone calls, e-mail and SMSes, helping the state spy on its own folk

Jitender Gupta
A Fox On A Fishing Expedition

Call Monitoring

  • Telecom companies have to provide a 20 ft x 20 ft room in every city, with eight computers for every exchange
  • The computers belong to a designated agency, like the IB, DRI, CBI and others
  • The computers are capable of recording all conversations and call details


Every day, at a secret facility of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) near Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai, a team of 18 operators sits peering through massive amounts of data coming in through undersea cables from across continents into an international gateway facility several kilometres away in Malad. The cables carry voice and internet data from Europe to Asia and vice versa, and by tapping into them, Indian intelligence is now playing Big Brother with a vengeance.

It all began in 2005 as India started catching up with the communication revolution that had swept the world...

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