DoT May Rope In Verint Systems For Intercepting Encrypted Online And Mobile Communications

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may rope in an Israeli cyber firm Verint Systems for providing solutions to intercepting encryption services available on smart phones and online activities.

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If you had thought that the Indian Government is not smart enough to intercept encryption services then you might want to read further. According to story published at The Hindu Business Line, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may rope in an Israeli cyber firm for providing solutions to intercepting encryption services available on smart phones.

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The recent developments have come up in the middle of last month while Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s was visiting Tel Aviv, the second most populous city in Israel. It is being said that the discussions were held with Verint Systems, a firm which provides exclusive solutions for lawful interception in cyber space.

Verint is headquartered in Melville, New York, with offices worldwide and some 2,800 employees around the globe. The company has been building products that are aimed to support government and enterprises in making sense of the vast information they collect to meet performance and security goals.

The company has shown interest to work with Indian security agencies in intercepting encrypted services. It is being said that Verint might be engaged for ensuring a solution for Location Based Servers (LBS) which gives real-time position of caller.

Besides this the firm which is providing interception tools to about 77 countries, has shown interest in providing technical know—how in intercepting encrypted communications, including Gmail, Yahoo mail and BlackBerry.

However, official sources have said that more discussions are required with Verint to explore the possibility of implementing interception solution for encrypted services.

Monitoring mobile and social media discussions by the Government of India

Monitoring mobile and social media discussions has been a priority with the Indian Government and it is working on it. In fact while the Government is engaging with Verint and finding all possibilities of a business relationship, it has already asked telecom service providers in the country to provide LBS services to security agencies.

The blanket monitoring of people on their location details finds its genesis in a DoT order issued in May 2011. However, its effect on the ground should be visible from mid- 2014. The directive issued by DoT also states that during the first year telecom operators should achieve 80 percent accuracy but later during the second year it should improve to 95 percent. Interestingly, there has been no mention of rural areas.

At the same time it has also a 400 crore, Prism-like system in place referred as The Centralised Monitoring System (CMS). The system that has been functioning under the guidance of DoT has been built to remove the dependence of telecom operators and monitor all internet activities of citizens. In fact going further the objective is to merge all mobile and internet monitoring in CMS.

With this new development coming in place, it only highlights the seriousness of the Government of India in this area. The level of seriousness could be judged by the recent news of Blackberry bowing down to the pressures of the Government to allow access in monitoring its encrypted data but the Government is still having more measures in place.

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