Cyber-snooping could be instrumental in blackmailing future leaders: ex-MEA secy

Addressing the Hackers Conference 2013, former MEA secy called for international co-operation on issues relating to cyber security and stringent international laws in this space.

By Kul Bhushan Published Date
26 - Aug - 2013
| Last Updated
26 - Aug - 2013
Cyber-snooping could be instrumental in blackmailing future leade...

KC Singh, Former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs, expressed concern over the recent revelations of data mining by the U.S. government. According to Singh, cyber-snooping might help in the war against terror but could be misused to blackmail others. He was addressing The Hackers Conference 2013 held on Sunday in New Delhi.

"Through legal means they (USA) are scooping and dredging up huge amounts of information. (They are) only looking at bad guys who are communicating with each other, but you can retrieve it (the information) many years later for blackmail or whatever you want," Singh said at the conference, held to discuss the state of global Internet Security.

He pointed out the US government supports its surveillance programme, claiming it to be in interests of its citizens and help check terror activity. But, such capabilities could be used to blackmail others.

"Somebody in this room becomes prime minister of India 20 years from now. They will go into your background and scoop it up to see what were you doing, what were the mails you were exchanging. That becomes the very instrument (for) blackmailing future leaders of any country," Singh added.

The former secretary also called for global co-operation on issues relating to cyber security. He also stressed the need for stringent international laws in this space.

Speaking at the conference, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam highlighted the need for developing regional capability in cyberspace. “We have to catch up with the world, but before that challenges of cyber world must be handled properly. Every aspect of our life in the times to come may be controlled by this (cyber) revolution. Unless you have proper defences you cannot go forward," Kariyawasam added.

The Hackers Conference 2013 saw participation of the information security industry and the cyber community along with policymakers and government representatives on cyber security. You can learn more about the Hackers Conference 2013 here.