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Indian surveillance build-up continues

February 9, 2010

India is investing massively in surveillance equipment both at national level and within the country, Video surveillance is expanding in cities, and it is also putting R&D and operational funds into major projects like a new mountain-top border radar system and now, a satellite platform that, it is claimed, will be “fitted with an intelligent sensor that will pick up conversations and communications across the borders.” Presumably this means a system rather like the US satellites that have been in operation since the 1980s that ‘vacuum’ up microwave communications signals from mobile telephones, rather than some kind of impossibly powerful microphone! Interestingly the story in the Hindu continually refers to the new devices, whether they be radar or satellites, as “network-centric”, and is peppered with references to “electronic warfare”,  showing that Indian military planners have almost entirely swallowed US strategic doctrines that emerged from the 1990s. With the USA now operating openly in Pakistan, the source of recent terrorist raids into India, and tensions ratcheting up with China, it seems that the US is backing India as its major regional partner, or at least that India is aping US methods.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 8:46 pm

    Additionally, they are vigorously pursuing a new national identity scheme, with unique ID numbers and multiple biometrics. However, unlike the systems you note above, the new ID scheme does seem to be about empowering citizens, at least on some level.

  2. David permalink*
    February 10, 2010 12:29 pm

    Yes, I think I blogged about the ID card scheme last year – oh, yes – here:

    I agree with you on the mixture of empowerment and surveillance – Rodrigo Firmino and I made the same argument in our paper about Brazilian ID cards, coming out in IDIS very soon…


  1. Indian surveillance build-up continues « notes from the ubiquitous … | Indian Today
  2. The Expansion of Video Surveillance in India « notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society

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