The Modi government has set up an expert committee to look into the alleged snooping by Chinese company Zhenhua. The Chinese tech firm has been reportedly tracking and monitoring 10,000 prominent Indians. The committee was announced even after the Ministry of External Affairs raised the matter with Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong on Wednesday.
Inside the Parliament, Congress members in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday also raised concerns over the media report that suggests that a Chinese technology company has been tracking 10,000 prominent Indian individuals. Many key decision and Policy makers mark a strong presence in the Overseas Key Information DataBase of Zhenhua Data, an IT firm in Shenzhen.
The MPs asked the government to take note of the matter as the list includes key bureaucrats from the Prime Minster Office to Police officials.
A report published by a Delhi NCR Based publication in its investigative report states that as many as 375 bureaucrats including those on active duty and retired, 6 PMO officers, 23 chief secretaries and 15 DGPs are on the Chinese firm list. The media outlet had received information from an anonymous source who made a segment of the database available. It is reported that the source connected to the company has links to the Chinese government.
The surveillance list in fragments does not make sense as the names seem scattered all across the sections, national and international bodies however the bureaucrats being monitored largely hold important decision making posts in key departments like the natural resources, infrastructure, urban development, finance, Law and order. The list also included Kashmir Police Officers investigating ISI’s Punjab militancy and UP DIG connected to Muzaffarnagar riots investigations.
Two Congress members, K C Venugopal and Rajiv Satav, during the Zero Hour, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to take note of it and inform the minister concerned.
The cause of concern remains as only a segment of the database was available which clearly shows that the monitoring from President to the local police officer has somewhat to do with decision making as well as cause and effect of the policy moves. Another concern remains the nature of the information been collected, especially after the government banned various Chinese apps like TikTok and PUBG.
The committee has been asked to evaluate the implications, assess any violation of laws, and submit its report in the next 30 days. The panel has been set up under the National Cyber Security Coordinator.