Centralized system to monitor communications

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 27 November 2009, 02:43 Hrs   |    2 Comments
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Centralized system to monitor communications
New Delhi: India plans to set up a centralized system to monitor communications on mobile phones, landlines and the internet in the country, Gurudas Kamat, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology told the Rajya Sabha.

Indian laws allow the interception and monitoring of communications under certain conditions, including countering terrorism, reports PC World. A pilot of the new Centralized Monitoring System (CMS) is to be started by June next year, subject to clearances by other government agencies, the Minister said.

The CMS will have central and regional databases to help central and state-level enforcement agencies intercept and monitor communications, the government said. It will also have direct electronic provisioning of target numbers by government agencies without any intervention from telecom service providers, it added. It will also feature analysis of call data records and data mining of these records to identify call details, location details, and other information of the target numbers.

The current system used by the government for call monitoring can be easily compromised because of the requirement of manual intervention at many stages, the Minister said. Interception using the new system will also be instant, he added. The announcement by Kamat comes on the anniversary of Mumbai terror attack. The terrorists involved in the incident are believed to have used mobile communications and the internet extensively to plan and execute their attacks.

The government brought into force earlier this year the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008, an amendment to an earlier law, which broadened the government's powers to intercept and monitor communications. Some experts have argued that the government should set up an organization like an ombudsman to ensure that information collected during surveillance is not misused.

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