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India splurges £100m on new mega internet snooping HQ

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Updated India's clampdown on its netizens is set to continue after its government revealed it is setting up a National Cyber Co-ordination Centre to monitor all web traffic flowing through the country – in the name of national security.

The Times of India had access to the minutes of a National Security Council Secretariat meeting held earlier this month, which claimed the new £100m centre would monitor all tweets, emails, email drafts, status updates and other messages.

The agency will be tasked with scanning “cyber traffic flowing at the point of entry and exit at India's international internet gateways” in order to provide “actionable alerts” to relevant government departments in the event of a perceived security threat.

If a particular online message is flagged, the centre will have the right to open it up and see if it has actually unearthed a terror plot or merely snooped on an innocent chat - so obviously no privacy issues there, then.

"The coordination centre will be the first layer of threat monitoring in the country,” deputy national security advisor Vijay Latha Reddy said during the meeting, according to the leaked paperwork. “It would always be in virtual contact with the control room of the internet service providers.”

The Indian government is now said to be working out how many people it needs to staff the new centre as well as liaison roles within each government department.

The news comes as India’s much-publicised dispute with Research In Motion took another turn last week: the BlackBerry maker agreed to set up a BBM server in the country to enable the authorities to monitor traffic running on the service more easily.

Nokia’s Push Mail service is said to be next in line, while Yahoo, Google, Skype and others are thought to be in dialogue with the government about routing their services through servers in the country to ensure all comms channels can be monitored. ®

Update

This story has been updated to correct the amount being spent on the Centre.

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