Centre wants 5-year storage of mobile calls

Centre wants 5-year storage of mobile calls

IBs plea being examined, says DoT

At present, companies are storing call records for six months.

The Union Home Ministry said in a recent communication to the Telecom department (DOT) that telecom companies should store details of all phone calls made by their customers for a period of five years and they should be made available to the law and order enforcement agencies as and when they sought them.

“The IB's request is being examined and no decision has been taken so far,” sources in the DOT told Deccan Herald.  They added that the DoT would place the request before the inter-ministerial group headed by the Cabinet Secretary, which is currently studying the issue related to intercepting of internet services and telephone networks in the country.

The DoT, however, is skeptical over the implementation of this as the companies might oppose this move because it would push up operational costs.

It may be noted that DoT had recently rejected the intelligence agencies’ demand that telecom operators should enhance their infrastructure to tap the phones of at least one per cent of their customers.

At present, around eight government agencies including police, intelligence bureau and the Income Tax department can conduct lawful tapping of around 1,000 phones in each telecom company. 

But the intelligence agencies have requested the DoT to intercept around one per cent of the total phone connections (approximately 8 million mobiles) soon and it may increase to five per cent (40 million) in future. At present the country has around 800 million mobile phone connections.

Though the government agencies have set up the equipment to intercept calls, the telephone service providers need to upgrade their technology to enable tapping.

More number of telephone tapping means the private companies have to install state-of-the-art gadgets. Even if the companies are asked to set up joint infrastructure which would cost around $600 million, it would face resistance from