Operators have to provide facilities for monitoring mobile services

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said private mobile operators could roll out 3G services but they should provide the law enforcement agencies facilities for monitoring the next generation mobile services.

Government sources said telecom operators offering 3G services had been asked to come with proper call interception facilities by mid-2011, particularly for video calls.

“We [The Ministry of Home and the Department of Telecommunications] are putting in place certain mechanisms to monitor and intercept 3G services as it is important for national security. The idea is not to interrupt or delay the 3G services…the idea is to allow 3G services to go forward even while monitoring mechanisms are put in place. There is no need to fear that the 3G services will be interrupted or delayed,” Mr. Chidambaram told journalists here.

Objections

After objections from the Home Ministry, the DoT last month asked private operators already offering 3G services to stop providing the video call facility, one of the important features of the third generation mobile services, even as it asked other firms getting ready for the rollout to stop from doing so until they provided proper interception facilities to the law enforcement agencies.

The security agencies' main concern is over interception of video calls as the contents get displayed only five minutes after the completion of the calls. The law enforcement agencies wanted interception done on a real-time basis for effective monitoring of 3G services.

Time for companies

However, after a meeting between Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekhar a week ago, it was decided to give companies time to come out with solutions related to security issues even as they continued rolling out 3G services.

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