The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Thursday warned telecom companies and private detective agencies against indulging in any kind of unauthorised interception of telephone calls, saying that those caught will be booked and punished as per the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act.

“It has come to the notice that some persons, companies, including Public Sector Undertakings, private vendors and private detective agencies are establishing, maintaining or operating unauthorised communications network, including wireless network for unauthorised monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communications, and some times are importing these equipment for demonstration purpose to Law Enforcing Agencies for short duration,” DoT said in a statement.

“Such type of acts violates the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and persons or companies involved in such types of acts are liable to punishment as per provision of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933,” it added. This Act gives powers to the government to seize the equipment and also carries a punishment for maximum of three years in jail.

No sub-system

Stating that under the law, no equipment or sub-system can be used for unauthorised communication network, monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication, DoT further said: “The persons and companies who imported, procured or possess the equipment or sub-systems capable of monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication are directed to inform the details of such equipment within 60 days to the respective Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring Cells of Department of Telecommunications.” Those not complying with the norms would be prosecuted under the law, it added.

DoT is independently compiling the information about persons or companies who possess, have imported or procured or assembled or manufactured the equipment or sub-systems having capabilities of monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication.

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