Netra – The Internet Traffic Spy System for Government of India

Government of India will soon launch Internet monitoring system, Netra (NEtwork TRaffic Analysis). It is a defense ministry’s internet spy system that will be capable of detecting words like ‘attack’, ‘bomb’, ‘blast’ or ‘kill’ from reams of tweets, status updates, emails, instant messaging transcripts, internet calls, blogs and forums. The system will have the capability of capturing any dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype or Google Talk. In other words, it is a system that would be tracking or monitoring sensitive keywords over the internet.

Netra has been developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) whose research focuses on various defense related areas in Information and Communication Technology like artificial intelligence, robotics, intelligent systems, communication & information security and others. The lab is also reportedly working with Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) to develop a formal strategy to track Internet usage.

“The specifications of the ‘Netra’ system can be taken as frozen following tests by the Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat, and can be considered for providing multiple user access to security agencies,” a Home Ministry note on Netra says.

When Netra is operationalised, security agencies will get a big handle on monitoring activities of dubious people and organisations which use internet to carry out their nefarious designs. Intelligence Agencies such as RAW and IB will only be given a space of 300 GB to store the intercepted data generated by Internet and an additional 100 GB for other agencies such as Department of Telecommunications.

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