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By 2014, Every Mobile User’s Location Details Will Be Captured And Monitored!

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This news is quite significant – Indian Government has directed all telecom operators in the country to make location of all mobile users across the country available as part of Call Data Records (CDR) by 2014 according to a DoT directive obtained by First Post.

Currently Location tracking and monitoring of a mobile user happens on selective basis. However, with this new directive, location of every mobile user while making or receiving a call in the country will be recorded and monitored.

Currently, as part of call data records (CDR), mobile numbers (to and from) and duration of call was being recorded, but from 2014, even the location details of these calls will be recorded.

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The directive is part of Central Monitoring System (CMS) that was proposed by UPA Government in 2013 and was rolled out in April 2013. The CMS is in process of implementation for security purposes, through which Government can monitor all the mobile communication and internet activity.  The CDRs that are acquired from Telecom Companies will be fed into this centralized Monitoring System.

DoT seems to have given Telecom Operators 3 years to implement the system and operators will need to achieve 80 percent accuracy for mobile user’s location in first year followed by 95 percent accuracy in second year.

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My Take

Honestly, the scale at which this location tracking is expected to be done is mind boggling. Imagine this – There are over 870 mobile phone subscribers in the country. Location details of every call that has been made and received by these 870 million users has to be recorded and stored. Even if one makes average of 2 calls a day per user, minimum of 4 location details need to be stored, which works out to nearly 3.5 billion location details every day.

I do not know how easy or difficult it is for Operators to store the location details (I presume it may not be too difficult, as they may get these details from their mobile towers.)

The biggest worry I have is what happens to all this information and data. Will it be secure on Government’s servers?

Imagine if someone is able to hack into Government’s central monitoring system and retrieve the data of every mobile user in the country along with their locations…It would be a calamity!

What’s your take on this DoT directive?

  1. Jay Hapless says

    How would it be a calamity?

  2. Naweed says

    On a positive note, I think this can help bring an end to the stolen handset market.

    1. Kishore says

      I don’t think this will help to stop the stolen handset market. The government has not provided any measures to access this data. This is something like a big boss show in which the big boss is the government. Given the way they maintain IRCTC servers i too doubt whether they would be able to retrieve and store all the data in a secured way. I also hope we dont see any emergency periods as emergency period coupled with such a huge amount of data can turn out to be the worst disaster ever happened to India.

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