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BlackBerry, Skype, Gmail and now 3G come under the scanner of Indian Government

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IB wants telcos to store call data records for five years

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) wants all mobile phone companies to store call data records, or details of all phone calls made by their customers, for a period of five years -a move that is set to be vehemently opposed by companies citing operational costs. At present, telcos store call records only for six months.

The intelligence agency had earlier asked the telecom department to mandate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep a record of all online activities of customers for a minimum of six months.

But so far this has not be implemented due to a slew of concerns, ranging from increased costs to the fact that storage of these details for a long time could pose privacy threat.

The home ministry, in a communication to the telecom ministry, acknowledged that so far all efforts to get telcos save call records for more than one year had met with stiff resistance due to the increased costs.

But, the communication adds the sector regulator Trai, which plans to analyse the call records for calculating the liability of telcos, would be looking at call records between November 2005 and

March 2009, indicating that such details were available with all mobile phone companies. "Therefore there should be no problem for service providers to preserve their call data records for five years and make it available to law enforcement agencies when required," the home ministry communication by its joint director PS Purohit added.

An executive with a telecom company said that the IB demands cannot be enacted without changes to the rules that were introduced in 2007 when the foreign holdings in mobile phone companies were enhanced to 74%.

The DoT official said that the IB''s demands were being examined while adding that the no decision had been taken on this issue.

The official also added that the DoT may ask the inter-ministerial group currently looking into monitoring of both internet services and networks in the country must take a final call on this issue.

Last month, the telecom department turned down a demand by intelligence agencies that all operators upgrade their infrastructure to tap the phones of at least 1% of their customers.

This would have resulted in companies like Bharti Airtel , Vodafone Essar , Reliance Communications and BSNL enhancing their infrastructure to tap one over million phones each as all of them have over 100 million customers. Currently, large telcos are mandated to have requisite infrastructure in place to tap 1,000 phones simultaneously.

Under the existing framework, only about 15,000 phones can be tapped simultaneously across the country.

With over 800 million mobile connections, implementing this IB plan would have required all operators to jointly create infrastructure to tap 8 million phones. According to industry estimates, all operators combined will have to invest anywhere between $500 million to $1billion, including servers and storage costs, to build capabilities to tap 8 million phones simultaneously.

The IB has off late has been seeking a series of steps from the telecom department to enhance security.

It also wants the telecom and IT departments to work with mobile phone companies and the National Informatics Centre to put in place a system that can uniquely identify any person using the internet across the country. The project aims to develop a technology platform where users will have to mandatorily submit some form of an online identification

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?storyid=11341&flag=1&passfrom=topstory&section=S174

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In a related news,

TEC test must for all telecos before deployment

All shades of telecoms gear will have to shortly undergo mandatory certification by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) before deployment in communication networks across India.

The telecoms department will soon expand the Indian Telegraph Rules to include detailed modalities for such mandatory testing and certification.

"Testing shall be carried out by the Telegraph Authority or any other designated agency on payment of a prescribed fee. A suitable test certificate will be issued (to the OEM) if it complies with all parameters of testing and certification," says an internal telecoms department report.

An internal department panel which is drafting the detailed norms for mandatory testing of telecoms gear is slated to submit its recommendations to the Telecom Commission by June 15. The seven-member panel largely comprises senior officials of the TEC, which is the department''s technical wing.

The proposed `Telegraph Authority' is likely to be the TEC, although the telecoms department interim report is yet to spell this out.

Since such certification of telecoms gear will have a validity period, the OEM will need to renew it periodically to continue selling equipment in India.

The Telegraph Authority will also have the powers to issue show cause notices to telcos using uncertified gear and OEMs selling such equipment. Under the amended Indian Telegraph Rules, it will also have powers to confiscate telecom equipment that hasn't been tested or certified. In the event, an errant OEM fails to complete certification formalities even 180 days after being issued a show cause notice, the designated authority may confiscate such uncertified telecom equipment.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/Corporate_fullstory.aspx?storyid=11355&section=S162

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DoT, security agencies at loggerheads over mobile data services snooping

The Department of Telecom and security agencies are divided over how to deal with the issue of snooping into highly encrypted data mobile services such as those offered on BlackBerry devices.

The matter may now be referred to the Committee of Secretaries to find a solution.Proposals rejected

According to sources, the IB has rejected almost all the proposals made by the special committee.

The DoT had suggested that the security agencies should snoop into the servers of various corporates to track high encrypted data services such as those offered on BlackBerry devices.

It had also said that the law enforcement agencies should develop its own technology to snoop into telecom networks rather than depending on operators and service providers.

In the case of BlackBerry, for example, the Canadian firm which manufactures the device has told the security agencies that it has no technology available that will allow Indian law agencies to crack into the enterprise email services. But MHA insists that the company provide a solution or withdraw it services in India.

“Banning a service is not a good solution. If a company says there exists no solution and later a solution is found to exist only then the services should be barred. We have prepared a proposal which will be sent to MHA for approval. If they do not approve then we will take the matter to the CoS,” said a DoT official.

The security agencies have raised concerns about a number of data services being offered by the likes of Nokia and Google.

The basic problem is that under Indian laws, operators are allowed to use encryption up to 40 bit whereas most of the data services use much higher encryption to make it more secure against hacking. Security agencies do not have the technology to crack into anything that has higher encryption keys.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?storyid=11358&flag=1&passfrom=topstory&section=S174

This is utter non-sense by DoT.

Is DoT agent of corporates or an arm of Govt???

:confuse: :confuse: :confuse:

It's totally perplexing to know that DoT instead going for a kill against adamant corporates, it's playing politics with security agencies.

Looks like RIM succeeded in coughing up enough bribe to quench the thirst of bureaucrats in DoT.

It's a utter shame on India!!!!!

:'( :'( :'( :'(

DoT must simply say to telecom operators to either 'real-time decrypt' or 'ban' any service on its network.

Why on earth DoT committing suicide by undermining the position of the security agencies??????

:suicide: :suicide: :suicide:

PS:: Let us pray that above quoted article was not a paid rumor by RIM

Edited by kesav

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Seems like the deal (Number of suitcases to DoT from RIM) got finalized after a very very long bargaining...

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MHA seeks storage of call records for at least 5 years by telecos

The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Department of Telecommunication to direct service providers to store call records of customers for at least five years and make them available to law enforcement agencies whenever required.

Citing security concerns, the MHA has conveyed to the DoT that the existing system of keeping call records by the telecom companies for six months has not been able to satisfy the security agencies and hence storing of call details for a longer period was necessary.

"We want telecom companies to preserve their call data records for five years so that the security agencies can use that whenever required," a Home Ministry official said.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?passfrom=breakingnews&storyid=11426&section=S174

MHA asks DoT for timeline on domestic telecom equipment policy

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought information from the DoT on the timeline for implementing a new policy to promote domestic manufacturers of telecom equipment and cut down the country''s reliance on imports.

Most of the equipment used in Indian telecom networks at present is imported. The government has expressed apprehensions that imported telecom equipment may contain malware or bugs that will leak sensitive communications data to third parties, which could pose a threat to the nation's security.

The Department of Telecommunications has indicated that the forthcoming National Telecom Policy 2011 will give preferential treatment to local manufacturers. In this regard, telecom regulator TRAI has already given its recommendations on a proposed Telecom Equipment Manufacturing Policy to the DoT.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested giving preferential treatment to made-in-India products -- besides incentives to telecom operators to source domestically manufactured equipment -- with the objective of ensuring that 80 per cent of India's telecom services network is based on indigenously manufactured equipment by 2020, up from just 3 per cent in the year 2009-10.

While the DoT is still studying TRAI's recommendations, the MHA's views on providing incentives to promote indigenous production have found concurrence within the DoT.

However, when Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had held discussions on the issue with industry players in the first week of May, telecom operators criticised the need for giving preferential treatment to domestic manufacturers of telecom products.

When contacted on the issue, a senior DoT official said most of the officials in the department were busy responding to various enquiry committees set up by the government on the 2G spectrum scam and hence, a definitive timeline for implementation of the proposed National Telecom Manufacturing Policy could not be committed at this stage.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?passfrom=breakingnews&storyid=11429&section=S174

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I don't know how much the below information is relevant for this topic, somehow I felt I've to post it here....

CCS clears national intelligence grid

Six months after its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was circulated to members, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today finally gave an “in-principle” clearance to the ambitious National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) project.

This followed a 90-minute slide presentation by Natgrid CEO Raghu Raman and his team to the CCS at the Prime Minister’s residence. Sources said the thrust was to assuage “concerns” of key stakeholders on issues of privacy and security of the proposed mega database from 21 sources.

What was also stressed was the fact that instead of just another intelligence-gathering organisation, Natgrid was envisaged as a tool or “technical” solution which will provide uninterrupted access of data to nominated officials of 11 intelligence and investigative agencies.

The CCS clearance today followed a series of meetings and presentations made by the Natgrid team to stakeholder Ministries and Committee of Secretaries. The Finance Ministry, which had earlier expressed serious reservations on Natgrid, had subsequently given its nod days before the CCS meeting.

Clearances have been obtained for land for the Natgrid project and for the team to now prepare a report for the Empowered Finance Committee.

The CCS was told about the 11 layers of “built-in security” features in Natgrid’s architecture and the fact that once operational, it would be one of the most ambitious projects using advance PSP (pervasive security in perpetuity) features (till the grid lasts).

It’s not clear if the CCS also deliberated on clearances for the NCTC (National Counter Intelligence Centre) since both the projects had been simultaneously announced by Home Minister P Chidambaram following the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The concept proposed by the Home Ministry has been that eventually, Natgrid will subsume into the NCTC, but the discussion paper for the latter, too, is understood to be lying undiscussed with the PMO for almost a year.

source :: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/CCS-clears-national-intelligence-grid/800274/

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Govt raises concerns about multi-platform Tiger Text app

The application allows sender to control the life span of the sent message and can get it deleted from the recipient's mobile phone.


The Government of India has raised concerns about a cross-platform application and service, Tiger Text, that allows setting lifespan of a text message. That means the sender can get a message deleted from recipient's mobile.

Home Ministry has warned the Department of Telecom to make it mandatory for all cellular operators for procuring clearance from the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) if the service is deployed by any of them.

Brent Bamberger, head of marketing for Tiger Text said, "TigerText is surprised by the comments by the Indian government as it has consumers using its application in 119 countries with no issues whatsoever."

Tiger Text is a cross-platform messaging app that allows a sender to set a life span of the message (text, image or video). So the sender has the control of wiping off the message from the recipient's handset but a copy of to the same message lies on the Telecom operator's server of unlimited amount of time.

Just like number of other cross-platform messengers, Tiger Text utilises phone's data connection for messaging. That has alarmed the India Home Ministry assuming the application's potential usage by the terrorists.

A telecom department official familiar with the matter said, "Use of the (Tiger Text) application by Indian telecom service providers can create operational problems for national security agencies. The telecoms department should ask all telcos to proper lawful interception arrangements and secure approvals from the security agencies before availing of the service from Tiger Text."

Apparently the Home Ministry believes that the Tiger Text's function of destroying the text and video messages may hinder the operations of the law enforcement agencies. Security concerns have become a high priority for the Indian Home Ministry and we have seen government's recent squabble with the Canadian cellphone maker - Research In Motion. The issue between RIM and government still remains unsolved.

As of now, Tiger Text doesn't seem to have heard from DoT officially but is ready to co-operate at any level. Bamberger said,"TigerText welcome the opportunity to talk with the Indian security agencies or telecommunications companies to help them understand the product as the company does not want Indian consumers to suffer from not being allowed to receive the benefits of its service."

Home Ministry's concern about country's security is quite understandable. However, a specific approach or set of pre-defined guidelines might ease off any hiccups in the process.

via : themobileindian

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Home Ministry's concern about country's security

Concern? They have become paranoid!!! Don't really know what to say? Lol..

And they send CBI officials abroad with EXPIRED PAPER Warrants for extraditing someone..

Anyway enjoy the following VIDEO "Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist".. haha.gif


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Dear friend, I didn't least expect such a discourteous comment from such valuable and patriotic brain.

The current home ministry is functioning under the most threating/difficult environment if you compare it against any other internal securities of the world either past or present.

After 9/11, the entire war is happening in our neighborhood(Afghanistan and Pakistan) and Pakistan being a friendly country to terrorists, for each and every attack on terrorists in Af-Pak, they try to retaliate in India as means of showing they've not lost the capacity to attack a secured nation.

26/11 is one such story.....

Now, after Osama, those threats have multiplied multi-fold......

It's easy to say that our HMinistry is paranoiac but it's important to note that they've to be paranoiac to deal with much more paranoiac terrorists.

Even a single success out of 1000 attempts by terrorists will be treated as success for terrorists.

Even a single failure(999 successes)to prevent out of 1000 attempts by terrorists will be treated as failure for HMinistry.

It's very important to highlight mistakes/errors in HMinistry but at the same time it's important to keep in mind that we live in relatively safe India when compared to India of 26/11.

Huge credit must go to current ministry.

Edited by kesav

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Agree, for security purpose and while dealing with security issues, we must behave cohesively differences are always healthy but being paranoid for every thing is not healthy.

I believe after few american and EU countries we are perhaps most secured country - atleast internally despite having problems bigger than our own calibre, all communication methods must - MUST and MUUUST come under government interception and scrutiny for lawful interception.

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Complete ban on encrypted communications not desirable : DoT

NEW DELHI : In some relief to BlackBerry, the Telecom Ministry is understood to have said that a complete ban on encrypted communications is not desirable as long as solutions exist to have the data intercepted in a readable format.

"Banning of encrypted communication is not desirable as long as some solutions exist to get the (data) intercepted in readable format. Therefore, accent should be on regulation of these services in such a manner that security assistance needs and communication security needs are balanced," an expert committee set up by the Department of Telecom (DoT) said in its report.

Read full article here

Edited by Karthik R

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Govt Agencies Can Now Intercept BBM Directly, Nokia Pushmail, Gmail And Yahoo is Next


Investigative agencies are closing in onto your virtual space with interception solutions for hitherto inaccessible BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Nokia Pushmail, Skype, Yahoo, Gmail and others.

The BBM tapping solution provided by Research In Motion (RIM) has been found ‘seemingly satisfactory’ by the Department of Telecom, and the Ministry of Home Affairs is working out the modality for direct tapping of BBMs instead of sending requests to RIM for surveillance.

“The server has been inspected by a team of officers and permission for direct linkage for lawful interception was expected to be issued shortly,” DoT informed Home Secretary R K Singh end-December. It said that RIM has installed a dedicated server at Mumbai and a similar arrangement would be prescribed to Nokia for intercepting its Pushmail.

The MHA had preferred an arrangement where probe agencies could decode messages themselves so that they could conduct surveillance without disclosing the names of suspects to RIM.

Next on the agenda is interception of emails through Yahoo, Hushmail and Gmail with the MHA directing the DoT to ask the service providers to ensure that all emails accessed from India should be routed through servers located in India.

At present, these secure messaging service providers automatically locate all email accounts registered in India to the Indian server, but accounts registered abroad and subsequently accessed from India get routed through servers outside India.

Conversations through Skype, the DoT said, would soon get intercepted with the Microsoft Corp-owned company planning to set up India-centric software. “This would address the current concerns significantly.”

However, it said that demand for interception and decoding of BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) was being dropped as the Intelligence Bureau had observed that corporate emails and messaging through BES were limited between employees of a company and hence, “not of high concern for security/intelligence agencies”. But as a safety measure, the IB has directed the DoT to obtain the list and location of the nearly 5,000 BES by this month-end.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had met Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble to discuss intercept mechanism for data transferred through these platforms to fight militancy and security threats over the Internet and through telephones.

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Gmail, Yahoo! Will Be Asked To Route Mails Via Indian Servers

Move comes after govt agencies face issues accessing terror email sent from a Europe-based account.

After pacifying the country with statements about not censoring social networking content, the government has decided to divert its attention to email communication instead. Reports suggest that Department of Information Technology (DIT) will now ask email service providers such as Yahoo! and Gmail, along with others to route all emails accessed in India through servers based in the country, even if the said mail account is registered outside. The move comes after security agencies failed to get real-time access to some emails, because the accounts had been registered outside India.

In a high-level meeting held at the Union Home Secretary RK Singh's office, the Director General from CERT-in, India's cyber community noted that Yahoo! automatically relocates all email accounts registered in the country to its servers in India. However, this does not apply for emails from accounts registered outside the country. Earlier, security agencies were unable to access email accounts of suspected terrorists belonging to the terrorist outfitIndian Mujahideen during investigations, because they had been registered in a European country. When the required permissions to view these mails in question were asked, the content provider said that a request would have to be made with the European nation where the server was situated.

While censoring tweets and status updates is absurd, this does seem like something that the defence requires, taking into account the gravity of the security situation. On the flip side though, how comfortable would you be, knowing that the government goes through all your email communication? Do let us know through your comments.

Courtesy : Techtree

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