Number Porting v/s Call Tapping

Read below an article published in Hindustan Times- 14th may, 2010. The entire article has been produced for the Reader’s Benefit. The MNP that was scheduled to be launched by April this year has again been delayed 😦

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Soon, govt can tap your phone legally

PROPOSAL- Legal cover to be given to passive interception

(source- HT- 14th may, 2010)

The next time you pick up your mobile phone, your friend might not be the only one listening you speak.

The government is giving legal cover to the new passive interception technology that enables intelligence agencies to eavesdrop into all mobile communications within a 2-km radius of the equipment.

The government will move Parliament during the monsoon session to ban the private sector from operating passive interception machines and introduce safeguards in their use by intelligence agencies, a government official said on Thursday.  But before it introduces safeguards, it will have to legalise their use first.

The Telegraph Act permits targeted phone tapping, only after security agencies convince the home secretary concerned of the need to tap a particular number. A panel headed by the cabinet secretary then reviews the home secretary’s approvals.

“Giving legal cover to passive interception would short-circuit this procedure,” said Pavan Duggal, an expert in technology-related law.

“There is a need to spell out the minimum limits of privacy of citizens that cannot be transgressed,” he said, convinced that courts would hold the proposed law violative of the fundamental right to life guaranteed by the Constitution.

The security establishment, however, insists that people should be more worried about losing lives than just privacy.

“Terrorism and insurgency cannot be fought by privacy concerns… Interception is part of the process to secure national security through information warfare,” says M.K. Dhar, retired joint director at the Intelligence Bureau. Officials said when the enemy was invisible; this was the only way to locate them.

According to the proposal being finalised by the security establishment, intelligence agencies would be entitled to tap all mobile phones in the vicinity of the machine and screen them for any terror-related information.

“We have proposed that if it is a conversation that does not have any security implications, the recording would be erased and a log of the tapping retained,” a senior government official said.

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Mobile Number Portability in India from 2010

1st News– The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had announced on 20th November, 2009 that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be introduced in India- on December 31, 2009. TRAI  had said that the subscribers in India will be able to change their Service Providers while keeping the same mobile number, at a fee of not more than Rs 19! It would not matter if a chnage would be needed from GSM to CDMA or vice-versa, or within GSM and CDMA opetaors; one could retain the same number.

Sad thing was that initially, one would be able to switch operators and retain the number only within the same telecom circle. One could not retain the same number and change operators, say, move from Delhi to Mumbai.

The mobile users in India may now have to wait till April 2010 to be able to enjoy mobile number portability (MNP) services, a facility that allows users to change their operator while retaining the number.

MNP was earlier scheduled to be implemented from January 1, 2010, in metros and large circles, while the rest of the country was slated to have access to this from April. At a review meeting on Friday to evaluate MNP preparedness between operators, DoT and Trai officials agreed to extend the deadline for metros to April 2010.

2nd News– The mobile users in India may now have to wait till April 2010 to be able to enjoy mobile number portability (MNP) services, a facility that allows users to change their operator while retaining the number.

MNP was earlier scheduled to be implemented from January 1, 2010, in metros and large circles, while the rest of the country was slated to have access to this from April. At a review meeting on Friday to evaluate MNP preparedness between operators, DoT and TRAI officials agreed to extend the deadline for metros to April 2010.

3rd News– No News.. No update i.e., Anyone please?

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