The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) is ready to scale up surveillance by offering real-time 360 degree profiling of individuals and other entities to authorised Central and State agencies for intelligence gathering and law enforcement purposes.

Information will be collated from airports, railways, PAN records, banks, passports, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), telecom service providers, vehicle registration data, the National Population Register (NPR), open source intelligence (OSINT), corporate details, and any other source.

The centralised database that NATGRID is developing will capture all digital footprints a person or a company leaves in financial and government dealings, and also have an inbuilt feature of flagging suspicious transactions, a feature now the Financial Intelligence Unit has to track “dubious” money movement.

Read more: NATGRID to use Big Data & analytics to track suspects 

Two-phase effort

This secured data harnessing effort would happen in two phases. As part of the Phase 2 of the solution being developed by NATGRID — an innovative information technology platform — data analytics, OSINT tools and web-based applications, such as of Facebook and Twitter, will be integrated to provide complete digitised information packets for national security usage, according to government sources aware of developments.

The data analytics software will use entity, face and speech resolution applications for profiling. Further, the NATGRID intends to eventually hyphenate OSINT tools and web-based applications to capture full-circle description that would give a larger picture about an entity or an issue which can be focussed as well as amplified with the help of human intelligence, empowering authorised agencies enormously, the sources said.

Digitised infra

They said the OSINT tool to be incubated will have the potential to extract entities, relationships and other linked written, audio and video information for summarising into a report.

Under Phase 1, the NATGRID is parallely integrating telecom companies, the Election Commission of India and airlines onto its digital database. Once this connectivity is established, the NATGRID will be able to offer complete and comprehensive actual time data about an entity or an issue to 39 Central and State agencies. PAN records, bank facilities including credit card details, passports, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), company details, railways cargo, immigration, vehicle registration and the NPR data are already available to Central and State agencies at a click, the sources said.

No standard data

It is learnt the centralised database access solution is facing challenges like lack of standardisation of data structure which requires time consuming re-indexing of voluminous online information.

An authorised government customer can only access data by logging onto the NATGRID portal. Citing examples of its effective use, government sources said agencies have been able to expose drug rackets by getting information about pushers from the digital platform.

Read also: Natgrid begins operations; high security protocols deployed 

The data infrastructure has adequate safeguards to avoid breach, stressed the sources. For instance, the end-to-end encrypted portal can be accessed only after proper authorisation and authentication, they pointed out.

The Home Ministry is regularly following up on the national database that is part of the Police Technology Mission — a key project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In that effort to build a comprehensive national security architecture, a cloud for national security is not a farfetched idea, observed the officials.