Govt dismisses allegations of surveillance of mobiles

No surveillance of mobile users, data collected only to improve network quality: Govt

Collection of mobile call data was done only to improve the telecom network quality, Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Dismissing the Opposition parties allegations, the Centre on Thursday informed Rajya Sabha that it is not indulging in surveillance of citizens. Iinstead, the Department of Telecom (DOT) has asked the telecom service providers to submit call data records of mobile users to improve the network quality.

Since the DOT has procured a new technology to address the call drops complaints, the government has asked the telecom firms to provide mobile users call data. This was done only to improve the telecom network quality, the Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

“I want to say it on record that there is no surveillance, no intrusion, no invasion of privacy at all and we stand committed,” the Minister said.

Raising the issue in Zero Hour, Congress Deputy Leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma, said under the new guidelines framed by the previous UPA government, after clearance from the Home Secretary, officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) and above alone were authorised to seek such details from telecom operators.

After row over the DOT seeking mobile users call data details from telecom service providers, the DOT on Wednesday clarified that it has started building an in-house platform backed by a big data analytics to address incessant complaints of poor quality. For this task, the DOT has asked the call data records from mass scale from telecom operators.

“It is seeking only anonymous data and does not contain names of either the maker or receiver of calls. There is no infringement of privacy of any person. No personal details are collected. There is no tracking of any phone number,” the DOT said.

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