Telcos Ordered To Store Every Call Record For Two Years: Security Is The Primary Concern
To augment a further check on telephony records, the Department of Telecommunications has directed all telecom companies, along with internet service providers and telecom licensees to maintain their commercial call records for a period of at least 24 months.
According to the DoT, this directive comes after requests received to the department by various security agencies.
Telecom Companies to Preserve Call Records for 2 Years
According to a notification released by the Department of Telecommunications on Dec 21, all cal records spanning over a 2 years’ period must be maintained by concerned telecom companies, ISPs and related parties for security reasons.
It stated, “all call detail record, exchange detail record, and IP detail record of communications ‘exchanged’ on a network must be archived for two years or until specified by the government for ‘scrutiny’ for security reasons.
Internet service providers will also have to maintain details of ‘internet telephony’ in addition to the usual IP detail record for a period of two years”, cites an Indian Express report.
To this, a DoT official added that it was a procedural order. Many security agencies had pointed out that they required data even after a year since most investigations take more than that to be completed.
“We had a meeting with all service providers who agreed to keep the data for the extended period,” they added.
As per the Clause No. 39.20 of the Unified License Agreement that DoT has with telecom operators, operators can exercise their right to safeguard records including CDRs and IP detail records (IPDR) for a minimum of 1 year for scrutiny by the Licensor, i.e., the DoT for security reasons.
Under the same clause, this Licensor also has the right to issue directions/instructions from time to time, related to these records.
Moreover, the licence condition also makes it mandatory for mobile companies to provide CDRs to law-enforcement agencies, along with different courts, if requested or directed specially by these bodies. In case of such an event, there is a laid-down protocol.
Telco Executives Comply on Request
According to executives from telecom companies and ISPs, the general norm to preserve call records is for 18 months, even though the government had until now asked them to record it for just 12 months.
“Whenever we destroy such details, we notify the liaison office or the officer of the time period for which the data is being wiped. If any additional requests come to us through proper legal channels, we keep that data. But then everything else is removed within the next 45 days”, stated an executive from a telecom service provider.
Another such executive states that preserving call records for 2 years instead of one would hardly add on to any additional expenses.
He said, “This data most is just who called up whom and what was the duration of the call, and it is in text format, like a list on an Excel sheet. In our opinion, there would be hardly any additional costs”.