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Centre wants Telecos to store call records for 2 years for security reasons

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Centre wants Telecos to store call records for 2 years for security reasons
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New Delhi: The Union communication ministry's Department of Telecommunication (DoT) notified on Tuesday its amendment of the Unified License Agreement seeking all telecom and internet service providers and other telecom licencees to stock commercial and call detail records for a minimum of two years or the period specified by the government, The Indian Express reported. The current practice of one year was extended after requests from multiple security agencies, DoT said.

A senior official of DoT said that the department had conducted a meeting with all service providers, and they had agreed to the storage of data for an extended period of two years.

As per DoT notification, call detail records (CDRs), exchange detail records (EDR) and IP detail records (IPDR) of the communications carried out on a network must be preserved. Internet service providers have to keep the internet telephony as well as IPDR, while only the latter is currently stored. Until this amendment, Clause No.39.20 of the licence agreement between service providers and DoT mandated the preservation of CDRs and IPDRs for at least a year for security reasons, and the DoT might issue directions from time to time. As per protocol, the records will be provided to probe agencies, courts etc., upon specific requests.

Source from telecom service providers told TIE though the government mandate was 12 months, they keep data for 18 months. They notify the state before clearing data of the particular period. If requests were made through proper channels, required data would be kept after the mandated period, and the rest will be wiped off in the 45 days. Storing the extended period's data does not incur additional costs since these data would be very small in size and would not require much space to store since it is in text format, the source said.

In March 2020, TIE had reported the Union government's directive seeking mobile subscribers call data records across many areas in the country during particular days. The government had claimed then that there was no privacy infringement or personal details or data collected and that none was being tracked. The drive was to address numerous complaints of poor quality network service such as call drops, echo, cross-connections etc, the government said in a statement then, TIE reported.

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