Warned by intelligence agencies that using a foreign satellite in the proposed nationwide Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) could make a critical database vulnerable to eavesdropping by other countries, the Union Home Ministry has decided to take the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to make the project fully indigenous.
Despite high bandwidth charges being proposed by the ISRO — almost three times that of the IPSTAR satellite managed by Thaicomm of Thailand — the CCTNS will get half of its 800-odd VSATs (two-way ground satellite systems) from the BSNL (network agency) while the remaining VSAT requirements will be met by the ISRO.
When fully operational, the much-delayed CCTNS project will connect 14,000 police stations across all the 35 States and Union Territories, thus creating a nation-wide networking infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled sophisticated tracking system around ‘investigation of crime and detection of criminals’.
Communication between the ministries and departments involved in the project, like the Home Ministry and the Department of Telecom, show complete lack of coordination between them. One such recent internal note says: “For the implementation of CCTNS project, a Memorandum of Agreement between the BSNL and the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau under the Home Ministry) was signed for the countrywide connectivity on October 24, 2011, wherein VSAT was one of the identified mode of connectivity for approximately 820 sites across the country through the proposed IPSTAR satellite managed by Thaicomm.”
However, when intelligence agencies got to know about it, they raised serious objections.