The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others. What is NATGRID?

  • NATGRID is an ambitious counterterrorism program, which will utilize technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyze the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
  • It was proposed to be established in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008.
  • This attack exposed several weaknesses of Indian intelligence gathering and action networks.
  • NATGRID is a part of the radical revamp of the intelligence and security framework of India.
  • The office of NATGRID is attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • NATGRID's data sources include records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and financial transactions and telecommunications.
  • The NATGRID plans to connect in different phases, data providing organizations and users besides developing a legal structure through which information can be accessed by law enforcement agencies.
  • In the first phase, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected, while in later phases about 950 additional organizations will be connected.
  • Over 1,000 additional organizations will be connected in subsequent years.
  • Mandate: “to automate the existing manual processes for the collation of intelligence information by connecting over 21 data sources like telecommunication, Banking, Airlines, etc.”
Which user agencies will have access to this data? The 10 user agencies that will be connected to NATGRID are:
  1. Intelligence Bureau (IB),
  2. Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW),
  3. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),
  4. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI),
  5. Enforcement Directorate (ED),
  6. Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU),
  7. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT),
  8. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC),
  9. Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence (DGCEI) and
  10. Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
  • No State is a user agency for NATGRID
Concerns about NATGRID
  • There can be a misuse of digital databases against the citizens which may compromise individual privacy and even violate national security.
  • Sensitive intelligence information, if available to many agencies, can be leaked and used against the nation.
  • The data can be misused by state agencies itself and surveillance state can be created.
  • Efficacy comes under question as no state agency or state police force has access to its database. Read More Articles: Election Commission Applies Brakes on Social Media Privacy no Longer Supreme