Friday, June 17, 2011

New National Telecom Policy Of India 2011 By DOT

Telecom policy of India has been in controversies and government of India decided to change the same to clear it of its controversial nature. The government decided to adopt a new telecom policy of India 2011 that is in conformity with the contemporary standards. The first national telecom policy of India was written in 1994. It was subsequently reformulated as the new telecom policy in 1999 and was also amended in 2004. Now proposals have been given to formulate national telecom policy of India 2011.

The old telecom policy of India failed to consider issues like consumer friendly national telecom policy of India, telecom security of India, establishment of telecom security council of India, establishment of telecom security regulatory authority of India (TSRAI), etc. These issues must be considered by Indian government in general and ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) in particular on a “priority basis”. Further, telecom security policy of India must also be formulated as soon as possible as India has already taken more than enough time in this regard.

The telecom policy of India 2011 must incorporate important matters like spectrum allocation, telecom security, maximum broadband penetration, encryption policy of India, central monitoring system of India, etc. Further, issues like lawful interception and maintaining a “balance” between security concerns and fundamental rights must also be a part of the same.

Indian government has also suggested formulation of a draft national frequency allocation plan 2011 of India (NFAP 2011). The NFAP 2011 must be legally effective and technologically sound. Presently, issues like encryption, VOIP, use of satellite phones, spectrum allocation, etc are not properly addressed by Indian government and the new telecom policy must adequately deal with them.

.Similarly, we have no telecom security policy in India and telecom equipments security framework in India. There is no mechanism in India through which telecom hardware and software can be analysed for backdoors and malware. Now Indian government has declared that telecom equipments must be certified by TEC before use in India. A proposal to store call data records has also been given. The norms for import of telecom equipments in India would also be formulated very soon.

Even the illegal telephone tapping in India requires legal scrutiny in India. Further, an e-surveillance policy of India must also be urgently formulated. India is the only country of the World where phone tapping is done without a court warrant and by executive branch of the Constitution of India. Phone tapping in India is “Unconstitutional” and the Parliament of India has not thought it fit to enact a “Constitutionally Sound Law” in this regard. Even the Supreme Court’s directions in PUCL case have proved futile and presently the Court is dealing with the issue once more.

Encryption is an unresolved enigma in India. We have no encryption laws in India and despite the suggestions of many experts’ encryption laws and regulations in India are still missing. Encryption has also become essential due to faulty electronic sniffing and e-surveillance approach of India. After many rounds of negotiations with encryption service providers like Blackberry, Skype, Gmail, etc, it has now been decided that these services should not be banned in India.

There are many more techno legal issues that must be part of the new telecom policy of India 2011. However, till now none of these issues have been redressed by any telecom policy of India. Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) hope that the proposed telecom policy of India 2011 would cover the abovementioned and many more techno legal issues discussed by us from time to time.

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