India was the number one target of snooping by the American agency among the BRICS group of developing nations, which highlighted India on the top list of countries targeted by the secret surveillance programs of the U.S. Agency for gathering internet records and telephone data .
India was snooping by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and it is among the top nation under secret surveillance programs for collecting telephone data and internet records. And under BRICS group (i.e. Brazil , Russia , India, China and South Africa ) India is on top list of being intensively targeted ranking 5th in the world. Billons of pieces of information of telephone and internet networks are collected from India in a month only.
Referencing to the top secret documents revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the intelligence gathering activities carried out by US agency in India using at least two extensive programs: first is Boundless Informant and the second is PRISM. Where Boundless Informant is a data-mining system which keeps track of how many calls and emails are collected by the security agency. And Prism is a program which intercepts and collects actual content from the networks. Moreover, Boundless Informant was used for monitoring telephone calls and access to the internet in India, PRISM collected information from Tech Giants like Yahoo, Apple, YouTube and many other web services for the certain specific issues excluded terrorism.
In US , Asked by Indian Journalist why a friendly country like India was subjected to so much surveillance by the U.S., a spokesperson of the Director of National Intelligence said: “The Government of US replied in a diplomatic way and said as we can not discuss on every intelligence specific issue publicly as per our policy. For the sake of nation we gathers foreign intelligence of type gathered by all nations . The DNI spokesman chose not to respond to questions about how the NSA managed to pick so much data from India. The director of the National Security Agency , Gen. Keith Alexander on Oct ,Tuesday dismissed as “completely false” reports that his agency swept up millions of phone records of European citizens. While in earlier, The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its internet surveillance activities. The White House claims President Obama didn’t know about NSA spying on world leaders and hence weighs in on the strategy of keeping the president out of the loop.
In INDIA, it was quite surprising when our top Indian officials have been rather contemptuous of the disclosures, asked by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid about it ,he said “it is not… actually snooping,” the NSA documents obtained shows that Boundless Informant not only keeps track of emails and calls collected by the NSA but more than that.
Now this Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) system collects all the electronic records or internet data (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) which is stored in a NSA archive called GM-PLACE.
Collecting metadata of any person without his/her consent is a serious issue. When the investigation done on Metadata, we found that metadata is; the record of phone number of every caller and recipient; the unique serial number of the phones involved; the time and duration of each phone call; and more of this it can even locate the location of caller and recipient during call. And the same case is with the e-mails and other Internet activities of an user. Around 6.2 billion pieces of information or metadata taken from India means US Agency collected information on millions of calls, messages and emails daily as they had done it within 30 days.
NSA’s Global Access Operations (GAO), whose objective is “The Mission Never down or Sleeps,” for the designed NSA program ;used the tool named as Boundless Informant. It is so much powerful and capable that it collects records dynamically (through metadata record counts) without any human intervention and display the information in a map, bar chart, table or view graphically. By obtaining the data from DNI & DNR metadata record the tool can produce the live snapshot of GAO’s capability during any specific time.
How intensely India was targeted by the NSA was actually shown by the maps which provides snapshots of the Boundless Informant data. Now According to one map “global heat map” ,it shows that US agency collected 6.3 billion of pieces of information from the network in India in March 2013. More of that another heat map shows 6.2 billion telephone information at the same time.
US agency used three “global heat maps “ and it clearly shows that how extensively India was subjected to NSA surveillance (strong target of all) where they used color code scheme to depict the intense effect on the country. Ranging from green color which is least subjected to surveillance through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance), India comes in the region of deep orange and red even as fellow BRICS nations like Brazil, Russia and China — all monitored extensively — sit in green or yellow zones.

First heat map , shows some numbers depicting the intense of surveillance by NSA .The data tracked by Boundless Informant is 14 billion reports for Iran followed to it 13.5 billion from Pakistan. At third place , Jordan came with 12.7 billion, followed by Egypt with 7.6 billion at fourth and then India stands at fifth position with 6.3 billion reports.
In the heat map, India is placed between Iran and Pakistan with red color both and China and the U.S. with light orange. Brazil and Russia shaded in light green, while China in light orange.
Third heat map, depicting collection of telephone records (DNR), Deep orange color is shaded in Indian region where 6.2 billion pieces of information collected from telephone networks. India is the only country among BRICS who share same amount of color as other highly monitored nations like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Venezuela whereas other members of emerging nations came in green zone.
So When India came to know this, raised the issue of NSA Surveillance to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited New Delhi on June 24 then in explanation “Mr . Kerry said that no content has been sought or received of any email… So there is no matter to concerned ” said by Indian minister.
But as per the top-secret document passed by former NSA contractor Mr. Snowden who took asylum in Russia after the revelation of surveillance it clearly shows that NSA tool focuses on tracking people .As the metadata is machine readable hence therefore searchable, makes records of persons.
Now In whole world this issue has been raised so sensitively that many relations between US to other nations are in rift. Brazil president had already cancelled their meeting with the US President Obama due to revelation that US spied on Brazil oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro in Sept,2013. Allegations creates bitterness for Canada’s trade and business plans in Brazil .In Aug, Washington US President Obama held a secret meeting with top tech giant Apple, Google, Microsoft , Facebook , AT&T to discuss government Surveillance and discussion lead to fulfill the need for counterterrorism Surveilllance by the Administration. Hence Tech Giants have united against US government’s spying programme. And urged the administration to provide needed transparency and help rebuild the belief of Internet users around the world.
The Guardian Newspaper, The Hindu, Bloomerg.com, The Washington Post Newspaper, Al Jazeera america News.

Ayush Gupta
IIIT Allahabad