National telecom security policy update: home ministry shares concerns

Indian home ministry has expressed reservations over the proposed national telecom security policy saying it must lay down guidelines allowing interception of communication network by only law enforcement agencies.

PTI reported that the ministry conveyed to the department of telecom that the policy must clarify that the law enforcement agencies will be empowered to intercept telephone calls, voice-mails, emails and other services like BlackBerry Messenger on a real time basis and also specify proper code for setting up a secure communication network.

The policy should have enough provisions for priority communications for specified users over all networks like cellular, landline and broadband, the home ministry told the DoT, adding that the concerns of the security agencies have not been addressed in the draft policy.

The ministry asserted that these issues needed to be addressed before policy finalization.

The proposed national telecom security policy is being considered by the national information board (NIB), headed by national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.

The home ministry conveyed its objections to NIB too. Once the NIB clears the draft, it will be presented before the Cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for final approval.

The home ministry had also red flagged the widespread use of Chinese telecom equipments. Huawei and ZTE are the two leading telecom equipment makers in India.

The proposed national telecom security policy is expected to ensure that all future procurements would be done through trusted Indian or foreign vendors and telecom operators will get their networks audited yearly for bugs and security breaches.

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