Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Paul
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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Paul » 01 Dec 2013 15:41

Adrian Levy's article on a internal mole in the establishment is a red herring. Perhaps intended to egg on Indian agencies to indulge in a fratricidal witch and rip the apparatus apart. Better to stay away from these western Neville Maxwells and rely on our desi analysts to come up with solutions.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 01 Dec 2013 16:58

as I wrote sometime earlier, nothing induces paralysis in an intel agency like chasing its own tail.

neither did levy provide any info leak that points to a high level mole (army manuals etc are available to all foreign students) nor does it fall under usual pak intel MO.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby ramana » 02 Dec 2013 03:02

^^^ Also the terrorist attack was in Mumbai which is far away from the IA operational area. so what use is a manual for that purpose. More like a boast about having obtained some manual. As Rahul M says no need for mole vole for such manuals.

Its like spiced up stuff to sell the book.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby abhishek_sharma » 02 Dec 2013 03:06

I read that book. It is not that great. Don't waste your money on it.


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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby chetak » 10 Dec 2013 12:31

ramana wrote:^^^ Also the terrorist attack was in Mumbai which is far away from the IA operational area. so what use is a manual for that purpose. More like a boast about having obtained some manual. As Rahul M says no need for mole vole for such manuals.

Its like spiced up stuff to sell the book.


The going rate is reputed to be one rupee per page :)

No mole, vole required.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neshant » 10 Dec 2013 14:02

Countries are getting scared of using Microsoft products which are allegedly loaded with back doors.

With Yahoo & Google handing over vast amounts of personal data, emails & contacts to the NSA, countries like Brazil are literally talking about developing their own Internet infrastructure from scratch.

Clearly there needs to be a Dept of Information Defence set up as a 4th branch of the military. Its shaping up to be a major factor in determining economic/industrial espionage, not just political spying anymore.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby member_24146 » 10 Dec 2013 15:45

Minister in charge of secure email policy uses Hotmail :mrgreen:


India has been drawing up a new email policy to help secure government communications in the wake of US spying disclosures. However, the official who drafts the new rules still uses Hotmail.

The fact became known to the public after IT Minister Kapil Sibal's office sent an e-mail inviting journalists to the launch of his new personal website using the free service Hotmail.

--

..."To be honest, the quality of our official mail isn't that great yet. It still needs some work," he (top official in IT ministry) added.

Senior government workers like foreign ministry officials, the information and broadcasting minister and the health ministry secretary, also use Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo instead of their work accounts, AFP reported.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby ramana » 10 Dec 2013 23:24

NSA Menonji uses gmail as its secure!

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Kati » 10 Dec 2013 23:43

STATE OF DECEPTION

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013 ... fact_lizza

Long article, has a lot of info.....

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Kati » 12 Dec 2013 10:16

Case Reveals FBI Can Hijack Your Webcam — And Much More

The FBI's advanced surveillance methods can even activate a computer's webcam to spy on computer users — without switching on the device's telltale green light — reports about the investigation behind a bomb threat suspect reveal.

The covert snooping in the case of a mystery man, "Mo," also shows how investigators can download files, photographs and stored e-mails from a computer without its owner knowing, reports The Washington Post.

"We have transitioned into a world where law enforcement is hacking into people’s computers and we have never had public debate," Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union said.



http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/fbi-we ... de=15DD5-1

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby dinesha » 16 Dec 2013 12:50

Government to launch 'Netra' for internet surveillance
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tec ... 438893.cms
KOLKATA: The government will shortly launch 'Netra', the defence ministry's internet spy system that will be capable of detecting words like 'attack', 'bomb', 'blast' or 'kill' in a matter of seconds from reams of tweets, status updates, emails, instant messaging transcripts, internet calls, blogs and forums.

The system will also be able to capture any dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype or Google Talk, says a telecom department note seen by ET. "Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat are currently testing 'Netra', which will be deployed by all national security agencies," the note says. "The specifications of the 'Netra' system can be taken as frozen following tests by the Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat, and can be considered for providing multiple user access to security agencies," it adds.

The 'Netra' internet surveillance system has been developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

To hasten its deployment, the home ministry will shortly approach DRDO to allocate additional manpower resources to Bangalore-based CAIR, which is also working with the government's telecom technology arm, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) to formalise a strategy for tracking internet use.

The 'Netra' deployment strategy was recently discussed by an apex inter-ministerial group headed by DoT's member (technology) and included top officials of the Cabinet Secretariat, home ministry, DRDO, CAIR, Intelligence Bureau, C-DoT and Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The panel also deliberated on ways to respond to computer security incidents, track system vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices across the country.

During the meeting, it was also decided that 300 GB :?: :eek: of storage space for intercepted internet traffic would be given to a maximum three security agencies, including the IB and Cabinet Secretariat, while an extra 100 GB would be assigned to the remaining law enforcement agencies, the minutes of the inter-ministerial panel meeting showed. Deployment of 'Netra' by security agencies is slated to pave the way for a national internet scanning & coordination centre, which India plans to establish along the lines of existing facilities in the UK, US, China and Iran.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 16 Dec 2013 13:33

During the meeting, it was also decided that 300 GB :?: :eek: of storage space for intercepted internet traffic would be given to a maximum three security agencies, including the IB and Cabinet Secretariat, while an extra 100 GB would be assigned to the remaining law enforcement agencies,

Errr, dont even kids at home have larger HDDs to store downloaded movies?

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby rajithn » 16 Dec 2013 14:08

sum wrote:Errr, dont even kids at home have larger HDDs to store downloaded movies?


In all likelihood a mistake on the part of the "jour no" - half of them have no clue what they are writing about!

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby krishnan » 16 Dec 2013 16:31

yeah , also data are stored encrypted/compressed and also most data are text based log files so can store a lot

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby devesh » 16 Dec 2013 21:06

Kati wrote:
Case Reveals FBI Can Hijack Your Webcam — And Much More

The FBI's advanced surveillance methods can even activate a computer's webcam to spy on computer users — without switching on the device's telltale green light — reports about the investigation behind a bomb threat suspect reveal.

The covert snooping in the case of a mystery man, "Mo," also shows how investigators can download files, photographs and stored e-mails from a computer without its owner knowing, reports The Washington Post.

"We have transitioned into a world where law enforcement is hacking into people’s computers and we have never had public debate," Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union said.



http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/fbi-we ... de=15DD5-1



systems such as these can be prone to information overload. and that's probably the only "hope" that commoners have. of course, if they were undertaking a targeted snoop of a specific individual with specific things in mind, they can get a treasure-trove. and looks like all this is permissible in court, so even the judicial system might not offer any protection, even to US citizens let alone outsiders, if the case is framed in certain ways. if this is going on in the domestic scene, one can only wonder what's happening on the international front.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby vasu raya » 22 Dec 2013 21:33

Israel calls alleged U.S. wiretapping ‘unacceptable’

Israel on Sunday described the reported U.S. wiretapping of the country’s premier as “unacceptable” amid renewed calls for the release of Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, currently serving a life sentence in an American prison.

“We have of late exceptional intelligence relations with the U.S. and the British, it’s almost one intelligence community,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

“Under such conditions I think it is unacceptable,” Mr. Steinitz said while reacting to a New York Times report that secret documents revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that U.S. and British intelligence had tapped the communications of then Israeli premier Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak during 2008-11.

“We do not spy on the president of the U.S. or the White House. The rules have been made clear. We have made certain commitments on the matter and we honour them,” said Mr. Steinitz.

Lawmaker Nachman Shai, who served as a diplomat in Israel’s Washington embassy in the early 1980s, said Israel and the U.S. had agreed not to spy on one another in the wake of the 1985 arrest in Washington of Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who gave Israel thousands of secret documents about espionage in the Arab world.

Mr. Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment 29 years ago, and the report that the U.S. spied on Israel has led to renewed calls for his release.

“The secret is out. The U.S. is systematically spying on the defence and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other? Pollard was arrested for much less,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said.

Another MP from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, Tzahi Hanegbi, said, “If it (allegation of U.S. spying on Israel) is true, Pollard’s cell door should be opened and he should be allowed to go home before this day is out.”

Mr. Netanyahu, however, tried to calm his colleagues by saying that Israel should not refer to one specific incident to deal with Mr. Pollard’s release.

“We do not need a special incident to talk about the release of Jonathan Pollard. We are dealing with this with every U.S. president, including with President (Barack) Obama, all the time, including now,” the premier said.

“This (Pollard’s release) is not conditional nor connected to the recent event, even though we gave our opinion on these matters.”

Mr. Obama granted clemency to 21 criminals over the weekend as part of a Christmas tradition. Mr. Pollard was not included among them despite a request from his close ally and former cabinet member Bill Richardson.

Former premier Mr. Olmert’s office played down the spying allegations, saying, “The chance that security or intelligence-related damage was done by this interception is zero. It should be emphasised that relations between Israel and the U.S. in those years were excellent, and the intelligence cooperation was comprehensive, detailed, and as close as never before,” a statement from Mr. Olmert’s office said.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neshant » 23 Dec 2013 08:52

CIA backed company involved in data collection of India's Universal ID card program

BANGALORE: Two weeks ago, Max Schireson, chief executive of MongoDB, a New York-based technology startup, was in New Delhi to sew up a very important contract for his company — with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The contract is yet to be announced but what could raise eyebrows is the fact that MongoDB is part-funded by the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The company is expected to help in capturing and analysing data related to the ambitious plan to ..


Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/art ... aign=cppst

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Mahesh_R » 23 Dec 2013 17:37

Neshant wrote:CIA backed company involved in data collection of India's Universal ID card program


Sir, why is govt so ignorant and risking national security...sometimes these politicians make no sense to me...
knowing we are losing the ground they don't even blink ....god only can save us...

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby srin » 23 Dec 2013 19:25

MongoDB is an open source software. So - you typically dont have backdoors in software itself.

At best a company can do is to sell a "solution architect" and support.

I presume they need to have security clearances and must be Indian citizens etc ?

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neshant » 25 Dec 2013 09:54

srin wrote:MongoDB is an open source software. So - you typically dont have backdoors in software itself.



Untrue.

The NSA recruits hundreds of mathematicians and hackers to find weak points in open source encryption, database and server applications.

Databases of this type especially are a gold mine.

Have you not been paying attention to Edward Snowden.

They even tap the lines of their supposedly close allies like the German president.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby chetak » 25 Dec 2013 10:58

The great betrayal




By Yatish Yadav and N C Bipindra

“Spying is a secret business and not a pleasant one. No matter what someone has done, you have to protect him or her from outsiders. You can deal as harshly as you think fit with him or her inside the organisation. But to the outside world he or she must remain untouchable and, better yet, unaccountable and unknown” ─ Meir Amit, former Mossad chief.

Omerta is not just a word out of Mario Puzo. It is a pact of silence that exists within the exclusive club of men and women who wage war for their country in the shadows—the brotherhood of the intelligence community. It was cleaved apart last week when the long-standing political war between controversial former army chief General V K Singh and a section of the Army establishment in connivance with the government erupted again. The casualty was the Technical Support Division (TSD), one of India’s most clandestine and effective intelligence units, disbanded in July 2013 after General Bikram Singh took over as army chief in May 2012. Military Intelligence (MI) sources say that under severe interrogation to implicate General V K Singh in “anti-national operations,” some of its best officers who earned their stripes in Kashmir have become psychological wrecks. Their cover blown, facing hostile enquiry boards and fearing for the safety of their families, the former agents have written to Defence Minister A K Antony to provide them security. An excerpt from a letter by an officer’s wife notes that “For reasons best known to him probably because of his secretive nature of job he refuses to divulge organisational issues with me but has on numerous occasions in the last two months expressed death wish and suicidal thoughts due to organisational stress. He once did say that all this media hype has unnecessarily exposed him as a field operator. Therefore, he strongly believes that there is a chance of a threat to his life and to the life of his sources/informers who operate within inimical/terrorist organisations.” The Army’s response was to institute a court of enquiry against her to investigate the allegations. Ironically, she has not been summoned even once in spite of two sittings nor is she being discharged of the inquiry.



SPIES FEARED BY PAKISTAN

No doubt, the TSD woes would make Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) pop the champagne. The TSD’s job was counter-intelligence, covert-ops and surveillance that brought significant reverses to ISI. In the deceptive battlefield of Kashmir disguised by the serenity of ageless lakes and stately chinar trees, TSD’s secret soldiers have protected India’s interests. Army sources say it carried out retaliatory strikes deep within Pakistan reminding old timers in the spy business of the heady eighties when the ISI chief of the time was forced to call for an unprecedented secret palaver with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief to discuss how hostilities could be scaled back. General Deepak Kapoor initiated the founding of TSD in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to counter Pakistan terror groups. It had operational sanction of the Defence Minister, the National Security Advisor and top ministry officials. However, in July 2012, citing a spike in slush fund spending— from `49 crore in 2011-12 to `67 crore in 2010-11—the then Defence Secretary Sashikanth Sharma and current Army chief, General Bikram Singh asked the Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to probe TSD’s activities and file a confidential report. Sharma became the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in June 2013. In March 2013, copies of the handwritten report went to Sharma, the Vice chief, Director MI(FD) and the Joint Secretary (MoD). Coincidentally, the leaks began. However, the report had been submitted to the Ministry of Defence in March 2013, while the TSD itself had been disbanded in July 2013. “Why is the government not lodging an FIR under the Official Secrets Act?” asks a disillusioned former TSD operative.



THE MEDIA WEAPON

Army officers wonder whom the “leaks” benefit and what trouble lies ahead in Kashmir. “All gains made to ensure goodwill among the local population have been frittered away by one foolish act of some good-for-nothing officials in the government and Army,” rued a serving MI officer. He is doubtful if any of the allegations against General Singh would stick. Usually all intelligence exposes worldwide have been by whistleblowers, but with TSD, the government itself, helped by top echelons of the Army was responsible, says the officer. V K Singh’s enemies used a formidable weapon, the media. In July 2012, two months after his successor General Bikram Singh— whose antipathy towards the TSD is well known in military circles partly due to his belief that it conducted operations against him in the Valley—had taken over, Bhatia was asked to investigate “a sudden and unusual surge” in MI’s secret funds following a news report. By mid-2012 itself, it had become obvious that the TSD’s glory days were nearing an end. MI sources say the media was used to implicate the intelligence unit in the alleged bugging of Antony’s office in February 2012. Sharma asked Intelligence Bureau (IB) to launch a probe. The very fact that the civilian intelligence agency was roped in to inquire into an alleged covert army operation revealed which way the wind was blowing. Sections of the media kept the fusillade going against V K Singh. Reports alleged that he exploited TSD as “a personal Army” and gave J&K Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir `1.19 crore to “topple” the Omar Abdullah government in January 2012. It also reported that `2.38 crore was given to an NGO to file a petition against General Bikram Singh, then Eastern Army Commander in a decade-old fake encounter case to prevent him from becoming Army chief. Both Mir and the NGO have denied reports. The irony that went unnoticed was that even if true, an intelligence unit would not conduct an operation against a state government without political approval. Strangely, the leak on the funds happened immediately after the General shared a stage with Narendra Modi in Haryana. As the Intelligence community watched in despair, the establishment pressed the attack further. The beleaguered general was forced to explain that the funding was for Sadbhavna (harmony).



SABOTAGING SECURITY

This was literally handing Kashmir politicians a big stick to beat the army with. As demands from Central and state ministers for a CBI probe grew louder, the anti-Singh lobby burst another media bombshell, saying the TSD had carried out nine covert operations abroad. The political slugfest now took an anti-national turn. For the first time in the history of Indian military intelligence, covert operations were being revealed. This threatened to embarrass India diplomatically, compromise foreign assets, and invite reprisals. Belatedly realising the implications, the government stepped in, but not before causing irreparable damage to gains India had made in Kashmir over the years. Jayadeva Ranade, former additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, says such leaks would compromise operations, as opponents would launch countermeasures to neutralise Indian assets cultivated over a period of time. “Intelligence units are considered our last resort for national security. If you continue hampering their effectiveness, you will realise they have lost their utility,” Ranade says. Retired Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch supports Ranade’s argument. He should know. Katoch is a former Special Forces officer. India’s Special Forces are tasked with carrying out specialist, and sometimes, clandestine operations behind enemy lines and also within Indian territory to destroy enemy assets, movable and immovable. “General V K Singh has been forced to respond in public. These issues deal with national security,” he says.



ESTABLISHMENT SUBVERSION

The present Army chief General Bikram Singh maintained a stoic silence, though it was his action of ordering a probe against TSD that stirred the Pandora’s box. A serving MI officer noted that the “leaks” would pose serious problems for the Army and the Indian government in J&K, as any politician or NGO talking pro-India would be branded as ones “who have sold themselves to the Indian Army”. He said it also posed a serious threat to democracy in the state, as the “leaks” questioned the 2011 elections to rural local bodies in the state as being influenced by the TSD. “If the (Bhatia) report had indicted General V K Singh or any other officer relating to TSD, the proper course would be to go for disciplinary proceedings. Or else the government ought to come clean,” says retired Brigadier V Mahalingam. “Instead, the government, or one of its senior officers chose to leak the whole or a part of the report to tarnish the General’s image.” A senior intelligence officer feels “the phase when intelligence agencies used to topple and build governments is long gone.”



POLITICAL CIRCUS

It is not just India’s military intelligence that is being jeopardised by the politics of reprisal. India’s intelligence community has for long been functioning under the shadow of partisan politics. On a scorching June morning, as the dapper Director of the Intelligence Bureau (DIB) Asif Ibrahim, was being driven to meet Shiv Shankar Menon, his mind was clouded over the future of his beloved agency. The CBI investigation into the Ishrat Jahan encounter had identified IB agents by name, a precedent that could jeopardise intelligence gathering and lives of operatives who have penetrated terror cells. The investigation and subsequent leaks exposed the blueprint of a highly covert IB terror operation involving payments to assets, logistics to moles and running interrogations in safe houses. It caused a political firestorm. The BJP accused the government of dragging the IB into the public domain to “fix” Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Several former chiefs raised concerns over the government’s move. Furious, the IB requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene, threatening to stop producing actionable intelligence for persecuting its operative. As more details of the encounter hit the headlines, IB officers snapped all communication channels, bringing India’s security apparatus to a grinding halt. “It was a symbolic protest to remind the government that officers risking their lives to generate actionable intelligence cannot be crucified to exploit political interests,” an IB source says. The Ishrat case was the first instance in its history when intelligence dispatches were halted in protest against political plots. Earlier, in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the agency was asked to go slow on busting ISI espionage rings operating under diplomatic cover. On November 30, 1988, the IB, from a five star hotel, picked up senior ISI officer Brigadier Abbasi in New Delhi—doubling as a military attaché—as he was meeting his Indian contact. The government sharply rapped IB’s knuckles, asking it to restrict anti-Pak ops to just identifying and informing the Centre about ISI activities instead of arresting and interrogating Pak spies. A senior intelligence officer said the use of Intelligence agencies by the political establishment is nothing new, but dragging an officer through the mud as in the Ishrat Jahan encounter was very dangerous trend. “Since the early 1990s, the IB has penetrated several modules in Fatehjung and Murgikhana across the border and thwarted ISI’s terror attempts. But details of such operations are not talked about nor officers involved hounded. There are many things we do which are strictly not part of our duty to ensure that all information is properly elicited,” he adds.



COMPROMISING INTELLIGENCE

Former RAW officer R K Yadav says it is mostly middle level officers who cultivate sources to generate sensitive intelligence by risking their lives, particularly in a hostile country like Pakistan. He warns the government and VK Singh to be careful. “If they are exposed, intelligence gathering will be completely grounded. They are the foot soldiers, always willing to go beyond known territory to protect the nation’s security. It is no secret that the government is ploughing money into J&K and other insurgency-hit states but not as payoffs to ministers to topple governments but to cultivate assets. Although, no assets were exposed in the VK Singh controversy, it was an embarrassment to officers serving in the conflict zone,” Yadav adds.

Political masters have historically compromised Indian intelligence. In 1978, during a brief phone conversation with Pakistan ruler General Zia-ul-Haq, Indian prime minister Morarji Desai inadvertently mentioned that India was aware of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The ruthless General immediately ordered RAW assets in Pakistan to be found and neutralised. Subsequently, Indian agents were eliminated as their helpless handlers watched. Yadav says whatever intelligence network was left in Pakistan after Zia’s bloody cleanup was further destroyed by I K Gujral when he was PM in 1997-98. “Gujral had a serious allergy to RAW and the first thing he did was to suspend all offensive ops within Pakistan. Even the IB was asked to go slow on Pakistani agents operating in India. In approximately 11 months, he systematically erased the organisation’s footprints in Pakistan to promote his peace doctrine,” Yadav reveals.

Interestingly, only few months after Gujral’s decision to suspend RAW’s Pak operation, the agency prevented a Pak-sponsored attack on his convoy in Jalandhar. A top secret A-category input from the RAW station in London had warned about five militants travelling to India to attack the prime minister’s convoy. Surveillance was mounted after their flight touched down at Delhi. A team of Indian intelligence agents apprehended the terrorists after they picked up their weapons from a pre-decided location in Punjab. Meanwhile, unhindered by any political influence, ISI continued to exploit the vacuum created by Indian politicians.

It successfully cultivated a strong network of agents in India and Nepal by targeting religious institutions. In a startling disclosure, a former IB officer confirmed that the ISI has infiltrated several institutions in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He says an ISI agent was apprehended by the IB and Delhi Police in 1994 from UP but since he was politically connected, the PMO intervened; within few hours of his arrest, the politician’s followers attacked the police station where he was held and managed to rescue the Pakistani agent and his Indian contact. The same year when India’s Pakistan Counter Intelligence Unit was close to busting a module of ISI-trained operatives in West Bengal and Bihar, its officers were accused of harassing the minority community and ordered to stand down.



BETRAYAL AND CONSEQUENCES

The long arm of politics has damaged Indian intelligence operations abroad in some cases. A RAW officer who served during the P V Narasimha Rao regime recalls an incident of a colleague posted with the Indian Embassy in Tehran who was picked up by agents of VEVAK, the Iranian intelligence service despite having diplomatic immunity.

He was gathering intelligence on Kashmiri militants living at the religious centre at Qom, near Tehran. India chose not to take up the issue with Iran. The government woke up three days later, when RAW agents and their families threatened to stop work. Within hours of diplomatic efforts, the officer was released from a clandestine Iranian facility where third degree methods were used on him to garner information about RAW operations both in Tehran and the Middle East. He was also interrogated about the RAW setup in India. It was a serious setback to Indian intel operations in Iran; all secret missions were suspended. The officer was quietly transferred to New Delhi.

Sources say after the incident, most RAW officers in the Middle East and the Gulf region were transferred and all assets dismantled. “This was the reason we had no clue that the 1993 Mumbai bombers fleeing to the Gulf after the attacks. All our assets had been by then neutralised by the political establishment,” sources add.

However, the officer categorically says the Ishrat Jahan case and L’Affaire VK Singh may have embarrassed India’s intelligence agencies, but would not stop intelligence gathering operations. “In J&K and North-east, all intelligence activity is focused on insurgency, not on political parties. When we have an objective to achieve, there are so many ways to do it. There is always plan B, C, D ready, in case plan A backfires,” he elaborates.

But as the dirt flies and political conspiracies put national security in peril, the best-laid plans of India’s secret agents threaten to go awry.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 26 Dec 2013 09:21

One step back?
Army must confine to tactical intelligence gathering, new units need our nod: MoD

Acting on the high-level inquiry report into the functioning of a controversial Military Intelligence (MI) unit set up by former Army Chief V K Singh, the Ministry of Defence has sent a set of instructions to the Army, reminding it about its limited mandate of intelligence gathering and emphasising the rules for creation and restructuring of units.

The inquiry report, prepared by Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, had claimed that the secretive Technical Support Division (TSD) had allegedly indulged in activities to affect the government in Jammu and Kashmir and had claimed to have even carried out covert operations. It had also pointed to widespread misuse of powers that were given to the unit.

While a decision on further action based on the report is yet to be taken, it is learnt that the MoD recently sent firm instructions that any change in the shape or size of the Army has to be cleared by the government.


The inquiry report put a question mark on the very creation of the unit given that there were no clear instructions from the MoD — or the Cabinet Committe on Security — to conduct such operations. And that the TSD was set up by the Army in 2010 by merely "interpreting" the operational directives given to it by the government. This has prompted the MoD to send instructions to Army HQ that from now on permissions need to be taken to change the structure or role of units.

It is also learnt that the new set of directions specify and emphasise that the mandate of the MI has to be restricted to gathering of tactical intelligence that is needed either by troops on the border or soldiers engaged in counter-insurgency operations.


Making it clear that the mandate for intelligence gathering across borders remains with the external agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the MoD has told Army HQ that no permissions have been granted to Army units to operate on foreign soil for matters other than gathering tactical intelligence.

In effect, the MI's role in using human intelligence has to be restricted to tactical depth, an area understood to span 20 km across the border.
Despite the inquiry report's findings, former Army Chief Singh, in his autobiography, has written that the unit was set up by him in 2010 after he learnt that the National Security Advisor (NSA) had wanted to know immediately after the Mumbai attacks in 2008 if there was any capability to conduct covert operations on foreign soil and whether such a unit could be set up.

Singh has claimed that the TSD was being used by the Army for covert operations on foreign soil. "The Indian Army had a unit called the TSD. It was set up to accomplish covert operations in other countries. It was a very important wing because it was the only unit which could perform this task," the former chief claimed in a letter he wrote to the Home Minister recently.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neshant » 26 Dec 2013 09:56

lol, even companies selling encryption software have put backdoors for the NSA in their software.

may as well be rolling out the red carpet for NSA to spy on you these days if you use Google, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, RSA...etc.

I bet one big target is the stock market. If they can get Goldman Sachs or some such banking crooks to purchase a controlling stake in the nation's stock exchanges, they can rig prices, front run the markets and manipulate markets through backdoors. People lose their savings, these banking goons profit.

That's why various unheard of companies are SOOOO eager to sell India "technology" to modernize its stock & electronic exchanges.

____
Snowden : Secret contract between encryption software company RSA and NSA to embed backdoors in their software


(Reuters) - As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a "back door" in encryption products, the New York Times reported in September. Reuters later reported that RSA became the most important distributor of that formula by rolling it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/ ... C220131220

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Austin » 26 Dec 2013 10:17

Any encryption company that is based out of US is guaranteed to have some backdoor in some secret back to back tie up of NSA with the company ....that even applies to OS like Windows.

Snowden revelation is not a revelation in the sense for those who are in business but for general people it would be an eye opener sort off.

Best option is to use Open Source Encryption or develop your own algorithm for critical defence application.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 26 Dec 2013 10:24

sum, it might seem as a retrograde step because TSD was a competent outfit but such parallel mandates are not a good idea and result in less than optimum use of resources and even security risks. what is needed however is a steady absorption of mil officers in R&AW to develop understanding for mil requirements.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby vishvak » 26 Dec 2013 15:53

One step back?
Army must confine to tactical intelligence gathering, new units need our nod: MoD

So one can imagine that strategic concerns are taken care of by MoD and politicians. Lack of strategic intelligence or new units outside independent Army scope therefore must have solid reasons. After all politicians and bureaucrats are also under oath to protect the nation. We have to admit that MoD and politicos are to be answerable for any strategic gaps etc.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby KrishnaK » 26 Dec 2013 22:33

Austin wrote:Any encryption company that is based out of US is guaranteed to have some backdoor in some secret back to back tie up of NSA with the company ....that even applies to OS like Windows.
Snowden revelation is not a revelation in the sense for those who are in business but for general people it would be an eye opener sort off.
Best option is to use Open Source Encryption or develop your own algorithm for critical defence application.

http://www.isical.ac.in/~crg/

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neshant » 27 Dec 2013 12:43

Any news on this?

Its from 2011... and since then the "paranoir" has only proven true.

Everything from the stock exchanges & banking to scientific & industrial information to state secrets to personal privacy is open to "data mining" & espionage by foreign entites without a secure national OS.

India is to develop its own operating system (OS) For Security

India is to develop its own proprietary operating system (OS) rather than use "bugged" Western systems.

The Indian government is still intent on developing its own operating system so it can own the source code and architecture rather than rely on Western technologies.

Dr V K Saraswat, scientific adviser to India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that the Indian OS is needed to protect India's economic framework. While we admire India's decision to write its own OS, the decision seems to be driven by paranoia about Western technology.

Saraswat said earlier this month that Western hardware and software are likely to be "bugged". By bugged, he doesn't mean that Windows is chock full of unsecure hackable exploits. Saraswat specifically thinks that our technology is bugged so we can spy on India.

"Unfortunately even today we import most of these items. They are coming from various countries. So there is possibility that these hardware parts are already bugged," said Saraswat.

"So we have started doing design and development of our own hardware. We are trying to build it in our own country," he said.


"Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged."


Aside from overseeing development of the OS, Saraswat's main role is looking after India's missile defence system, so paranoia and security are second nature. At the time Saraswat made the OS announcement, The INQUIRER reported that the Indian government had been leaning on RIM so it could access communications on Blackberry smartphones.

The concerns about Western expansionism and spying are clear. But lumping open source technology with closed source software systems is surprising, given the popularity of open source projects in India.

In 2008 free software founder, Richard Stallman popped over to India to see a new Indian open source operating system called E-Swecha being rolled out in educational faculties. The project was overseen by the Free Software Foundation of India, but Stallman said the government wasn't chipping in.

India also has another, bigger open source OS that it built up from Debian Linux. This year, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing developed Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS), a GNU/Linux distribution with advanced server features.

Unfortunately, India didn't want to use BOSS as a foundation to roll out a nationwide government stamped OS. Instead, it's sticking to designing something from scratch with 50 scientists and IT specialists located in New Delhi and Bangalore spearheading a national effort to create the OS.

As we've said, we have nothing but respect for India's attempt to control its own technological destiny. But, if its products, specifically its OS, are developed out of a culture of paranoia and fear, then everything we have to offer gets tarred with the same brush.

The philosophies behind closed and open source software aren't even in the same postcode. Despite that, it seems that India is unwisely denying itself access to the benefits that open source technologies can provide.


http://defenceanalyzist.blogspot.ca/201 ... ating.html

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby srin » 27 Dec 2013 15:11

Austin wrote:Any encryption company that is based out of US is guaranteed to have some backdoor in some secret back to back tie up of NSA with the company ....that even applies to OS like Windows.

Snowden revelation is not a revelation in the sense for those who are in business but for general people it would be an eye opener sort off.

Best option is to use Open Source Encryption or develop your own algorithm for critical defence application.


Austin-ji, a few corrections:
a) This is not an encryption company. This is a database application.

b) It already is open source. Here is the source code repository. Anybody can peruse that.

c) The MongoDB (or linux) uses Git version control system - it means you don't submit the requests, you tell the maintainer to pull the requests from your source tree. And maintainer only pulls from trusted source trees.

There were attempts to insert backdoors inside Linux but they were caught fairly quickly.
In any half-decent open source project, you have maintainers who own whole subsystems. Any code submission need to be get their blessing and will be peer reviewed. While there is an big American presence, there are lot of developers of other countries contributing massively.
It is far harder (but not impossible) to backdoor an open source application than a closed source one.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Austin » 27 Dec 2013 15:32

^^ I was talking about the proprietary encryption company RSA and other who have closed source model and based in US.

Rest of your post I agree ..... no two views about it.

Building OS and Hardware as Saraswat was trying to put across is not a trivial task and can take huge financial asset and time to build and maintain such system....and there is no gurantee that it would be bug free or NSA wont be able to penetrate it.

The best option is to take an open source OS thats known to have good security model like OpenBSD or Linux and just develop over it by maintaining its source and regularly auditing it for security loopholes and bug fixes.

Maintaining hardware is even more difficult and its its impossible to prove it having no backdoor since its proprietary .... you have to bite the bullet and try to minimize the risk by making sure your network is watertight and maintain a good control over the traffic and day to day does and donts.

Most of the times security breaches have happened via simple day to day activity or human weakness like using USB drives as we have seen in Dilli in Navy war room leaks and NSA secretariat. Snowden like sophisticated leaks are hard to track and eliminate even the NSA couldnt do and they too are not sure what was really taken.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby srin » 27 Dec 2013 15:33

Neshant wrote:Any news on this?

Its from 2011... and since then the "paranoir" has only proven true.

Everything from the stock exchanges & banking to scientific & industrial information to state secrets to personal privacy is open to "data mining" & espionage by foreign entites without a secure national OS.

India is to develop its own operating system (OS) For Security

India is to develop its own proprietary operating system (OS) rather than use "bugged" Western systems.

The Indian government is still intent on developing its own operating system so it can own the source code and architecture rather than rely on Western technologies.

Dr V K Saraswat, scientific adviser to India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that the Indian OS is needed to protect India's economic framework. While we admire India's decision to write its own OS, the decision seems to be driven by paranoia about Western technology.

Saraswat said earlier this month that Western hardware and software are likely to be "bugged". By bugged, he doesn't mean that Windows is chock full of unsecure hackable exploits. Saraswat specifically thinks that our technology is bugged so we can spy on India.

"Unfortunately even today we import most of these items. They are coming from various countries. So there is possibility that these hardware parts are already bugged," said Saraswat.

"So we have started doing design and development of our own hardware. We are trying to build it in our own country," he said.


"Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged."


Aside from overseeing development of the OS, Saraswat's main role is looking after India's missile defence system, so paranoia and security are second nature. At the time Saraswat made the OS announcement, The INQUIRER reported that the Indian government had been leaning on RIM so it could access communications on Blackberry smartphones.

The concerns about Western expansionism and spying are clear. But lumping open source technology with closed source software systems is surprising, given the popularity of open source projects in India.

In 2008 free software founder, Richard Stallman popped over to India to see a new Indian open source operating system called E-Swecha being rolled out in educational faculties. The project was overseen by the Free Software Foundation of India, but Stallman said the government wasn't chipping in.

India also has another, bigger open source OS that it built up from Debian Linux. This year, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing developed Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS), a GNU/Linux distribution with advanced server features.

Unfortunately, India didn't want to use BOSS as a foundation to roll out a nationwide government stamped OS. Instead, it's sticking to designing something from scratch with 50 scientists and IT specialists located in New Delhi and Bangalore spearheading a national effort to create the OS.

As we've said, we have nothing but respect for India's attempt to control its own technological destiny. But, if its products, specifically its OS, are developed out of a culture of paranoia and fear, then everything we have to offer gets tarred with the same brush.

The philosophies behind closed and open source software aren't even in the same postcode. Despite that, it seems that India is unwisely denying itself access to the benefits that open source technologies can provide.


http://defenceanalyzist.blogspot.ca/201 ... ating.html


I seriously hope that this news is false. Building an "own" OS is a big pain because ...
a) It is a massive effort. Even simple things that you take for granted like networking have millions of lines of code. Can simply take decades to rewrite all that.

b) The security on servers while interesting is kind of outdated - you have IPS/IDS appliances and also WAFs (web application firewalls) to frontend webservers. The key attack vectors are browsers and smartphones. Almost certainly ios and android would be backdoored. If you want to invest, then get CDAC to work on Tizen. That is the purest open source mobile OS.

c) You need to rewrite all applications or atleast have the OS kernel compliant with standards such as POSIX which is really painful.

d) Every minor update (say, govt wants to use IPv6 or indic languages) will be a major pain to write. These are minor when compared to the OS itself, but major projects in themselves.

e) All the big problems are solved in OSes like Linux or Freebsd. If you are sufficiently paranoid, then go to OpenBSD. For instance, when the news broke of NSA backdooring Intel's random generator, Linux was already protected - you can see the discussion here. And you can change what you want by modifying specific modules. There is good security in these OS kernels.

Around 10 years ago, I used to work for a networking company that simply modified FreeBSD unix for its needs by completely rewriting its networking stack). The core unix kernel guys were Indian and Russian (it was an american company). The core architect is still Indian citizen. And btw, no way would/could they have backdoored it (every developer had full source access).

To summarize a long ranting post: the quoted solution of developing our own OS is neither effective nor efficient. To use cliches, it seems akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and reinventing the wheel. Personally, it is stupid idea.

As an alternative, the Govt should ...
a) Provide have CDAC or a similar agency contribute to the Linux any additions to the security. This might mean our own distribution or directly contributing to the kernel and other projects.

b) Enforce workstation & mobile security: smartphones are probably the biggest threats - no control on the apps etc. Contribute to open source mobile OS like Tizen to ensure that you have a "controlled mode", where it doesn't do USB / bluetooth to non-secured devices.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby member_28336 » 27 Dec 2013 16:08

Agree that developing a new OS from scratch is not a very practical idea for several reasons, even though it does offer some security advantages. If DRDO requires a real time OS for missiles, etc., they can build one on top of existing open source Linux based distributions. I do remember DRDO attempting to develop a real-time kernal for whatever reasons as early as late nineties! It was done by modifying existing Linux / BSD distributions.

Also the best and brightest engineers in India don't work for government or government associated organizations including C-DOT. Developing a OS from scratch and keeping it updated is a daunting task that calls for the involvement of the best and brightest engineers for a long period of time. Government should stop wasting tax payers money with ill advised projects.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby johneeG » 27 Dec 2013 16:13

chinna wrote:Agree that developing a new OS from scratch is not a very practical idea for several reasons, even though it does offer some security advantages. If DRDO requires a real time OS for missiles, etc., they can build one on top of existing open source Linux based distributions. I do remember DRDO attempting to develop a real-time kernal for whatever reasons as early as late nineties! It was done by modifying existing Linux / BSD distributions.

Also the best and brightest engineers in India don't work for government or government associated organizations including C-DOT. Developing a OS from scratch and keeping it updated is a daunting task that calls for the involvement of the best and brightest engineers for a long period of time. Government should stop wasting tax payers money with ill advised projects.


Lets say the Govt does attempt such a project and 'wastes tax payers money'. How much money will be 'wasted' according to your estimate? Basically, what is the cost benefit analysis? Skills developed, tech developed, security, independence, ...etc vs cost.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby srin » 27 Dec 2013 17:00

Austin wrote:^^ I was talking about the proprietary encryption company RSA and other who have closed source model and based in US.

Rest of your post I agree ..... no two views about it.

Building OS and Hardware as Saraswat was trying to put across is not a trivial task and can take huge financial asset and time to build and maintain such system....and there is no gurantee that it would be bug free or NSA wont be able to penetrate it.

The best option is to take an open source OS thats known to have good security model like OpenBSD or Linux and just develop over it by maintaining its source and regularly auditing it for security loopholes and bug fixes.

Maintaining hardware is even more difficult and its its impossible to prove it having no backdoor since its proprietary .... you have to bite the bullet and try to minimize the risk by making sure your network is watertight and maintain a good control over the traffic and day to day does and donts.

Most of the times security breaches have happened via simple day to day activity or human weakness like using USB drives as we have seen in Dilli in Navy war room leaks and NSA secretariat. Snowden like sophisticated leaks are hard to track and eliminate even the NSA couldnt do and they too are not sure what was really taken.


I posted my response on Linux/*BSD usage before I saw yours. I agree completely.

Here's what is worrying: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BEL_Battle_Field_Surveillance_Radar
The BFSR processing and display units, and control functions are integrated on a single, touch-sensitive, portable IBM PC, called the Control and Display Unit (CDU). Some processing elements are also built into the radar. The processed information is displayed on a high resolution 10.4" LCD colour display.

The PC operates on a Windows NT-based, menu-driven user interface, which makes operating the BFSR extremely simple.


You also have great examples like this: http://www.flightgear.org/Papers/ADAPaper/UsingPCsForFlightSimulationResearch.html
Image Generator software: The choice of PCs for Image Generation was compounded by the requirement to find suitable rendering and scenery creation software. In today’s market scenario software is much higher priced than the cost of matching PC hardware. Accepting the challenge of keeping the simulation cost low whilst meeting all the requirements, a search for an affordable software solution led us to an exciting project ‘FlightGear’ at www.flightgear.org. This open source project helped us decisively steer towards using PCs for flight simulation.

FlightGear code is built around PLib another open source project, which provides scenegraph library functions. Together, they provide features that are essential for flight simulation. FlightGear software, as of early 2001, has the following features desirable for this part task simulator:

Accurate runway/deck markings to successfully accomplish visual landings. (Approach lighting /VASI/FLOLS/Runway lighting are under development).
Configurable HUD overlay plane for the launch and recovery phases
Variable cloud base / density and visibility.
Multiple window display.
Ship motion simulation with Ship position and attitude received through the Ethernet. (Ship wake and wave simulation expected to be available in future).
Accurate terrain data. Tools available for scenery creation.
Open source under GPL, offers unlimited scope for feature enhancement specific to a task.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby rsingh » 27 Dec 2013 21:55

Govt office in kolkata are still on windos 98. More then 200 people wait to consult the ownership records outside one leaking room where computer take 35min to start. Have seen this with my own eyes. Get real guys we are messed up.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Neilz » 27 Dec 2013 22:06

With my limited knowledge/experience in RnD of some mission critical components, I can say that most of them use specific proprietary OS i.e. developed and nurtured inside the company.

Reason:
1)- Open-source OS/pkg/application are not optimised to the expectation (read performance).
2) All these open-source codes are not of good standard i.e. carries inherent vulnerability.
3) Linux kernel is not good enough(and I am serious here). Working on the Linux kernel and make it sanitised and/or modified is too much of a work rather than creating an OS/RTOS afresh and build application/driver layer on it as things progress.

In fact the best approach would be: Define a clean state Kernel architecture based on requirement road map, then create a RTOS kernel and in parallel/or need basis have different flavours.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby ramana » 29 Dec 2013 00:28

Most GOI officials use gmail from NSA onwards

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 29 Dec 2013 01:06

johneeG wrote:Lets say the Govt does attempt such a project and 'wastes tax payers money'. How much money will be 'wasted' according to your estimate? Basically, what is the cost benefit analysis? Skills developed, tech developed, security, independence, ...etc vs cost.

While you asked that question to chinna, let me add a data point I know of. 50% is what I heard from a project, i.e. 100% graft. In certain critical areas even that is worth it, unfortunately. To put into perspective, even the "corrupt" Indian polity would be agog with the kind of money wasted in US DoD.

I remember reading this news sometime back - Rockwell and Boeing spent $300 million each on R&D and proofing of technology even before bidding for the same RFP of a fighter jet (or is it a new missile?).

Almost certainly India can do several things on the cheap, at least for now.

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Re: Intelligence and National Security Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 29 Dec 2013 01:14

Austin wrote:^^ I was talking about the proprietary encryption company RSA and other who have closed source model and based in US.

RSA the algorithm is not proprietary. As you say, the source is closed. The real barrier for US companies (and private companies in India who come under the purview of WTO) is that the algorithm is protected by an US patent. But India (and by extension GoI or a constituent as sovereign nation) would be able to implement the algorithm in software or hardware.


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