The Indian government is all but set to launch Netra (Network Traffic Analysis), a surveillance system capable of analysing online communication in near real-time and detecting words that may indicate terrorist and criminal activity.
Created by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR) lab, under the direction of India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Netra is reputedly capable of scanning emails, IMs, tweets, blogs, forum posts and more in search of words such as “bomb”, “attack” and “kill”, but also of capturing voice traffic passing through Skype and Google Talk.
According to Economic Times, the system will be used by all national security agencies, but they will surprisingly be given only 300 GB of storage space each to store intercepted traffic. Law enforcement agencies will be granted 400 GB of storage.
The decision was reached by an inter-ministerial group that consisted of representatives from the home ministry, the aforementioned CAIR, the intelligence agencies, but also from the Indian CERT and the Centre for Development of Telematics, the government’s Telecom Technology development Centre, which makes that decision all the more unexpected.
But perhaps the government is eager to avoid accusations of engaging in drag-net surveillance?
Whatever the case, Netra and other surveillance and intercept systems are ultimately set to be connected to and feed the collected information into one single national coordination centre.