Congress raises issue of call data records in RS

Cong raises issue of call data records in Rajya Sabha

Opposition Congress on Wednesday raised in Rajya Sabha the order of the telecom department seeking huge call data records in cities such as Delhi, saying it was tantamount to converting India into a surveillance state.

Congress Deputy Leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma gave a notice under Rule 267 seeking adjournment of business of the day to discuss the move but Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu converted it into a Zero Hour mention.

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.

In addition to this, SPs are required to give a mandatory declaration to District Magistrates (DMs) about the CDRs obtained every month.

But there are no rules to permit any government office to seek call CDR on a regular monthly basis, he said.

He wanted the government to place on record the Home Secretary's order giving permission for seeking CDR and which magistrate were the issue reported to.

"India is being converted into a surveillance state," he said alleging the government was seeking bulk call data records to spy on people.

Responding to the issue, Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said with approval and cooperation of telecom operators, CDR had been sought to deal with call drop issue.

"I want to assure that there is no surveillance, no phone tapping, no call recording," he said, adding there is no invasion of privacy.

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