Info-tech

Govt wants to keep a tab on Net users

Thomas K. Thomas New Delhi | Updated on November 21, 2017 Published on May 24, 2013

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The Government wants to keep track of Internet user behaviour, including the Web sites visited and how much time is spent browsing. The Department of Telecom is planning to make it mandatory for telecom and Internet service providers to store data records of all subscribers.

Called Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR), this system tracks the usage pattern and allows security agencies to track those who mask their IP address. The technology is offered by almost all the global vendors, including Cisco, HP and Nokia Siemens.

Currently, operators are required to store call records of voice calls only. For data traffic, operators are required to allow security agencies access to intercept whenever required.

While this system permits security agencies to act against specific users, there is no law to keep records of data usage of every subscriber.

A committee, set up by the DoT to look into this issue, has now recommended that telecom companies should be directed to maintain usage log of subscribers using the IPDR standards.

Time period

Rajesh Chharia, President, Internet Service Providers Association, said that while service providers can deploy a system to record data usage of subscribers, the key thing would be the time period for which the record has to be kept.

For instance, operators are currently required to keep record of voice calls made by subscribers for six months.

According to industry experts, the IPDR standards allow operators to gather usage 95 per cent faster than other methods.

Apart from being useful from the security monitoring point of view, it also allows telecom operators to look at improving revenues by analysing the data consumption pattern of individual users.

“The solution provides the ability to extract customer usage from large IP environments in order to better understand customer usage and tailor offerings accordingly,” said a paper prepared by international industry association TeleManagement Forum.

Privacy issue

But systems such as IPDR have raised issues around privacy as it collects data of each subscriber.

A survey of about 11,000 people across 11 countries by global research firm Ovum found that 68 per cent said they would use a do-not-track feature if it was easily available.

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Published on May 24, 2013
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