New Delhi: Considering it to be vital to meet security requirement, the home ministry has told all the telecom companies to archive all text messages for six months. Currently, text messages are saved for just two days, and according to telcos, if they have to be saved for six months, it will increase their operational cost, reports Joji Thomas Philip of the Economic Times.
According to sources, in a month, Indians send 130 to 150 billion text messages. In order to save such a huge amount of messages, telcos will have to invest heavily in data centers.
While the intelligence agencies are of the opinion that saving text messages for six months is very important regarding the security of the country, telcos said that the government must reveal privacy issues in details and frame laws addressing concerns related to storing text messages for six-month. According to current law, interception is only done for calls and text messages from specific numbers on the instructions of security agencies.
Telecom operators said that with more than 700 million cellular connections, Indian customers enjoy the lowest call rates in the world and setting up of data centers for text messages will affect the customers. If the government does not agree to the demand of a phased implementation of tracking devices on cell towers, the operating costs per tower will be up by 50 percent.
The mobile firms were asked recently to upgrade their networks infrastructure to implement a system similar to that of Enhanced 911 or E911 in the U.S. According to U.S. laws, carriers will be able to get the location of a caller to within 50 meters for 67 percent of the calls and 150 meters for 95 percent of calls.
Executives in India said that with more than 4,50,000 cell towers in India, it will cost anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 per site for location measuring units. They further said that replicating the E911 will result in interference as population density and amount of traffic carried by a cell tower are greater compared to the U.S.