New Delhi: India needs to change the definition of privacy in the cyberworld as today`s world is like a gold fish bowl where nothing can be hidden, National Security Adviser (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon Friday said.
Speaking to a select audience of representatives from critical sectors of the country here, he said the `national critical information infrastructure` in computers and cyberspace needs to be secured so that it can "maintain its open and democratic character".
"We have to keep in mind that (we need to) maintain privacy but also at the same time secure it. Now these are not necessarily always in conflict but what it does mean is that we have to probably change definitions of privacy. There are things which we can no longer do in this domain. Secondly, which you can`t do in this domain and keep private, which may be you used to do in your old days, today whether you like it or not this is a gold fish bowl and we are reminded of this over and over again everyday when we see story in the media about what various people were using (to snoop)," Menon said.
He released the government`s first-ever "guidelines for protection of national critical information infrastructure" prepared by a joint working group created under the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).
Menon said in the present scenario, a small group of people possess the same technological powers as what government bodies do.
"The second point about privacy argument is privacy from whom? It`s very easy to convert this into a government versus private individual citizen rights kind of issue. That`s not the issue here, that`s privacy from each other as well. Frankly, the technology empowers individual and small groups with the same capacities that governments today used to have. It used to be a monopoly of governments to be able to do some of these things today it`s no longer so," he said.
"So I really need," Menon said, "much more discussion on how we handle privacy issues, how we define privacy.
"What we see as necessary privacy but also what we need to do to secure these networks in a lawful manner while we maintain their open and democratic character. Now that`s a full set of complex words I think... But it`s something that we can do."