Thursday, March 31, 2011

India’s Telecom Security Policy Needed

Telecom security of India has finally received the attention of India government. However, the response of Indian government in this regard is not only incoherent but is also far from reality. Instead of stressing upon real and crucial issues, Indian government is wandering upon unnecessary terrains.

In fact, Indian government has become paranoid to a great extent. Recently, the government has directed that telecom service providers employ only Indian nationals in sensitive positions like Chief Technical Officer and Chief Information Security Officer. These are the positions that are primarily responsible for handling interception and monitoring requests from intelligence and security agencies of India.

Surprisingly, Indian government is not bothered by the fact that phone tapping in India is occasionally arranged by private security agency employees who are contracted by the telecom service provider to receive interception orders from official agencies.

Indian government is also not worried of the fact that India has no constitutionally sound lawful interception law. Experts like Praveen Dalal have been insisting that lawful interception law is urgently needed in India.

We have no telecom security policy in India. There is no mechanism in India through which telecom hardware and software can be analysed for backdoors and malware. In these circumstances, formulating an Indian telecom security policy is urgently required.

Another area that has remained by and large untouched by the Indian telecom regime pertains to unpredictable and unreliable encryption policy of India. Troubled by this chaos United States government will seek changes in India's policies on telecom security and encryption in its next meeting with the telecoms department officials.

Companies like Gmail, Skype and BlackBerry are facing Indian security agencies irk over encryption issues. In the absence of any legal framework and regulatory regime for encryption in India, there is lot of confusion existing in India. Department of Telecommunication (DoT) is in the process of formulating the new telecom policy of India 2011 and it would be appropriate if these issues are redressed by the same.