New Delhi: Worried over increasing instances of snooping aimed at top government functionaries, the Centre plans to put in place a more foolproof high-security phone network to be used by ministers and top bureaucrats from their homes and offices. This new network will eventually replace the existing RAX (Restricted Area Exchange) phones used by ministers and officials.
Government sources said a pilot project was conducted in May which revealed some “technical glitches”, including the vulnerability of such a network to bugging/snooping by off-air devices. It was then decided the system needs to be made more secure.
When the new network is in place, even the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and Military Intelligence will switch over to it. There is considerable concern in government circles over recent reports of alleged snooping at Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s residence and the reported monitoring of BJP leaders by America’s National Security Agency.
Even in the UPA government’s tenure, such incidents had come to light with alleged snooping attempts made at the offices of senior ministers A.K. Antony and Pranab Mukherjee. While successive governments have denied such reports, intelligence sources say the current system is extremely exposed to snooping and there was much scope for improvement.