Govt seeks to allay telecom policy fears

Agencies can intercept calls, access data

Govt seeks to allay telecom policy fears

The government has sought to allay fears over the proposed law that will allow law enforcement agencies to intercept telephone conversion and get access to data stored by service providers, saying it upholds privacy rights of citizens.

The Department of Telecom draft policy came after the Ministry of Home Affairs urged the government to frame a law that will enable security agencies to make lawful interception of telecom networks including users and service providers.

As per the draft, the government also plans to set up Telecom Security Directorate (TSD) to implement the policy as well as update it as per requirement.

The DoT also said that effective systems, process and regulations will be put in place to ensure that security agencies can trace telecom users or devices in terms of identity, permanent address and current location with specified accuracy.

The law will ensure that intercepting agencies will get information of telecom users including data in decrypted messages, flowing through the telecom network, stored in systems and devices. 

To prevent misuse and leakages of data, latest technology will be put in place to enable the law enforcing agencies analysis it quickly. The proposed law also have the provisions for setting up units like centralised monitor system to intercept and monitoring and telecom system, security certification centre for testing telecom equipment and emergency response team (CERT) for detecting and analysing cyber attacks, internet traffic hijacks and telecom sectoral frauds. However, to implement the policy the government needs the cooperation from the telecom operators as they have to share the information and also install equipment that allows the security agencies to intercept the network. 

The draft policy also says that service providers have to share the details with the government agencies about cyber attack on their networks.

The government wanted a separate policy on the line of United States of America’s Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act after security agencies complained that they don’t have clear law to have access to telecom network.  

At present, security agencies access telecom services under licensing agreement. However, some of the service providers resisted the government move to access their network.

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