System to track calls, e-mails may come after a year

Setting up of infrastructure reason for delay

System to track calls, e-mails may come after a year

The proposed Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) which aims to track all communication traffic including phone, internet, emails, SMSes and voice over internet protocol will start its full-fledged operation only early next year.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, a senior DoT official said the delay is due to setting up infrastructure, including purchasing machinery. As a result, CMS, which was supposed to start functioning from March 2013 at least in 10 states, will be delayed further, the official mentioned.

Once implemented full-fledged, it will enhance the government’s surveillance and interception capabilities, allowing access even to the secured platforms like Blackberry messenger services.

After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, various law enforcement agencies including the National Investigating Agency (NIA) have been pushing the Centre to set up the CMS. The system was developed by the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TREM), along with the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).

Currently, various law enforcement agencies are tapping almost 10,000 phones across India, while over 1,000 e-mail accounts are under the scanner, after clearance from the Union Home Secretary.

Hooked to the CMS, the law enforcement agencies will be able to get access to scanned e-mails and various other social media platforms.

Communications made through any platform, be it the GSM or the CDMA technology, will be easily intercepted as the CMS would provide convergence of all the intercepted lines at one location.

The phone-tapping system currently in place is complex as eight different agencies wanting to snoop on anybody's phone are required to approach the Union Home Ministry for clearance with specific reasons.

Armed with necessary clearances, the department officials would then approach the telecom operators for tapping phones. It is feared that the loopholes in the current process led to the leakage of the Radia tapes.

With the new mechanism, the DoT will have complete control of a tapped line, cutting the telecom firms out of the system and pulling the plug on leakages of the conversations on tape.

Irrespective of the operators, the new CMS would enable lines to be tapped from a central location manned round-the-clock by officials of the government agencies.

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