The government, in the wake terror threats, is planning to set up a centralised system to monitor communications on mobile phones, landlines and the Internet.

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), a telecom research and development organisation, is working on the Telecom Security project, which will help the government to monitor both calls in the country through a centralised system.

Talking about the project, C-DoT Executive Director P.V. Acharya told PTI: "It is viewed as a national project…Basically, it is about monitoring certain messages or conversations so that we can ensure security of the country. Essentially, our technology would provide an interface to operator of any service or technology and it will give them access to the messages traversing through their network," he said.

The present system of surveillance is managed by individual operators, and a phone is tapped and call details are given when law enforcement agencies ask for them.

The government has a Signal Intelligence Agency, a joint service organisation manned by personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force, which monitors military links (wireless) of other countries.

However, it does not have a centralised monitoring system for voice calls on the mobile, landlines and Internet.

The government has not yet decided on how the surveillance system will work.

"We will just provide an opportunity to this... but how this would be done depends on the agreement between the operators and the government," Mr. Acharya said.

Declining to share technical details of the project, Mr. Acharya said the first phase of the project will cost Rs 400 crore. It will end next year.

The need for lawful intervention is being felt more after the terror attacks in November last year, when the terrorists were in contact with their instructors on the phone.

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