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Natgrid to scale up surveillance, offer real-time intel on individuals

Natgrid services will be available to 11 central agencies and police departments of all states and Union Territories


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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) has made all the preparations to expand surveillance, The Hindu Business Line (HBL) has reported. The agency is ready to offer real-time intelligence about individuals and other entities to law-enforcement authorities across the country.

To this end, Natgrid will collect data from airports, railways, PAN records, banks, passports, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), telecom service providers, vehicle registration data, National Population Register (NPR), open source intelligence, corporate details, among others.

Natgrid has already collected a considerable amount of data, such as PAN records, bank facilities which include credit card information, passports, company details, immigration etc.

Government sources quoted by HBL said that agencies were already leveraging Natgrid facilities to expose drug rackets.

What is Natgrid?

The National Intelligence Grid, or Natgrid, started its operations on December 31, 2020, under the Union Home Ministry. It has been mandated to maintain a repository of intelligence databases. The data is used to counter illegal activities by sharing information with several security agencies. Natgrid works as an integrated intelligence grid that connects databases of core security agencies of the government of India. It ensures the quick availability of intelligence to security agencies. Natgrid has also developed a mechanism that flags any suspicious financial transactions.

Natgrid services will be available to 11 central agencies and police departments of all states and union territories. The eleven agencies include the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of GST Intelligence.

Provisions for data safety

The data repository at Natgrid aims to capture all the digital footprints of an individual or an entity.

With such a large volume of data at its disposal, Natgrid is said to have taken appropriate measures to ensure data safety. Government officials said that the Natgrid infrastructure has adequate safeguards to prevent any unauthorised access. The data is end-to-end encrypted and can be accessed only after proper authorisation and authentication have been completed, they added.

However, Natgrid has faced opposition on account of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal data.

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First Published: Apr 28 2023 | 11:14 AM IST

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