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India govt demands operators' compliance on LBS

The Department of Telecommunications has requested all local operators to install location-based servers in their networks to track calls in real time, thereby enhancing domestic security.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has insisted local operators install location-based servers as soon as possible, as local security agencies want the ability to track calls in real time. Failure to comply may result in legal actions being taken.

The Times of India reported Thursday the DoT is coming under pressure from the government to get telcos to comply with the regulation stating the installation of location-based servers in their network infrastructure. This is so operators are able to provide location details of their subscribers with an accuracy of between 30 percent and 90 percent within an area of 50 meters and 300 meters, depending on population and location, it noted.

The Home Ministry, which stipulated the security requirements, added that the location details should be part of call detail records in the form of longitude and latitude and coordinates of cellular sites when submitting these logs to security agencies, it added.

The DoT has since summoned all operators and made it clear the location-based servers need to be installed as soon as possible, and failure to do so might lead to action being taken, the report said.

Cost is prohibitive

For the local telcos, the installation of location-based servers involve heavy costs and they have suggested deploying an Enhanced Cell Global Identity system, which is cheaper, instead. This was rejected by the DoT, reported Times of India.

They added the requirements put forward by DoT as "very stringent" and "highly expensive" given that none of their existing network equipment support location details to be included in call details.

Operators also stated their license agreements only stipulate cell tower identity, and not its coordinates, to be included in the call detail records, which is already available to security agencies, the report added.

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