Exclusive Q&A With : Prashant Pandey, Digital Forensic Engineer and Consultant
Updated on: 30 Jun 2016
Digital forensic engineer and consultant Prashant Pandey approached the SC last year for a CBI inquiry into the rampant use of illegal software to tap phone conversations and obtain call data records (CDRs). The software, his petition claimed, was available to anyone who could pay, and he alleged that government agencies had acquired the software for Rs 5 lakh-Rs 50 lakh paid monthly to a US firm. He spoke to Uttam Sengupta. Excerpts:
Has there been any movement on your petition to the Supreme Court?
In the court, no. We are still awaiting the first hearing. But Military Intelligence got in touch me. Initially they wanted me to drop them as a party but after I explained the case and demonstrated what was happening, they agreed with me that it was a serious issue concerning national security and not just privacy of individuals.
Has there been any response from the Government or other agencies?
In its response Madhya Pradesh Government admitted that it had bought and used the softwares known as CRA-I and CRA-II sold by the US based company. The day I filed the petition, the court had acquired an assessment by an independent lab of the said company's website which showed the softwares as the company's products. After they were served notice by the court, they took down mention of the softwares from their website.
Last year you claimed to have demonstrated the operation of the illegal software to Supreme Court judges...
Yes, I demonstrated the operation to the judges and also to officers from Military Intelligence (MI) who had got in touch with me.
When did you first become aware of the illegal software?