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'DoT Units Routinely Ask Us for Bulk Call Records': Telcos Flag Concern

Industry players have raised concerns over such practice in a communication to the Telecom Secretary.

New Delhi: Some units of the telecom department are seeking huge call data records of people in some circles on a routine basis which is alleged to be in deviation from the standard operating procedure laid down by the government, according to sources.

Industry players have raised concerns over such practice in a communication to the Telecom Secretary, the sources said.

They claimed the DoT unit of Delhi demanded call data records (CDRs) of the entire state for February 2, 3 and 4, 2020 and separately for specific routes in Delhi with residences of Ministers, Members of Parliament, Judge, important offices, etc following which industry players gave representation before telecom secretary Anshu Prakash to raise concern on such practice.

“Telecom industry players have written to the telecom secretary that CDRs sought for specific routes and areas may lead to allegations of surveillance, especially in the state like Delhi having numerous VVIP zones having offices and residences of ministers, MPs, judges, etc,” a source aware of the communication told PTI.

An email query sent to the Department of Telecom in this regard elicited no reply.

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According to the source, who did not wish to be named, said that the DoT has already issued detailed instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for providing CDRs to law enforcement agencies in August 2016 and April 2019.

The DoT including its field units under the SOP is required to ascertain the identity of the subscriber, examine the justification carefully for CDR demand, detail purpose for seeking CDRs and not using such CDRs received for any other purpose, define the officers authorised to seek and approve such a request.

However, various licence service area units of the DoT are not adhering to the set process and seek voluminous CDR details from telecom operators on a regular basis in contravention to the SOP.

“Almost all LSA units of DoT seek one day CDR details from telecom operators on monthly basis in states like Andhra Pradesh on 1st and 5th day of the month, Delhi on 18th day, Haryana on 21st day, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the last day of the month, Kerala and Odisha on the 15th day, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab on the last day of the previous month and the first day of the current month,” the source said.