India telcos must improve tech for cyber surveillance

Country's Intelligence Bureau asking telcos to upgrade their IT systems to intercept Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as means to augment cyber surveillance efforts.

India's Intelligence Bureau (IB) is hoping to get local telecom service providers to upgrade their IT systems to intercept Web 2.0 sites as part of the country's plans to set up of a cyber surveillance bureau.

The Economic Times said in a report Monday the Intelligence Bureau told the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that service providers currently "do not have adequate lawful interception facilities for full reconstruction of Web intercepts for various sites using Web 2.0 technology like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa [and so on] and quality of reconstruction of captured data is not good".

"DoT is requested to instruct all the [telecom service providers] to upgrade their lawful interception infrastructure or software in the monitoring systems to handle Web 2.0 traffic for better reconstruction at the earliest," the IB added in its note to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The report defined Web 2.0 as technology that allows users to interact with each other, whereas Web 1.0 sites only allow passive viewing of content.

An official told The Economic Times: "The idea is to monitor the Web and social media networks for malicious content--having implications on law and order--and forewarn security agencies and state police for taking preventive steps."

The official added the purpose of having a dedicated cyber surveillance unit will not be fulfilled if the service providers do not upgrade their infrastructure. However, he added the agency will only be established once there is legislation in place to protect the privacy and freedom of speech of citizens.

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