Amid global debates on government increasing surveillance of Internet, telecom industry body COAI has started discussions with legal experts, industry and policy makers on legal framework to ensure that online privacy is not compromised. Also Read - How two of the richest men in the world are fighting over your internet connection
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is also deliberating along with the stakeholders on “better legal models for such surveillance in India”. The industry association in partnership with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) will be holding seven privacy and surveillance round tables across cities in coming weeks. The round-table meetings will involve multiple stakeholders like industry leaders, policy makers, experts from legal fraternity, civil society, etc. Also Read - Starlink told to get license before offering satellite-based internet services in India by govt
The recommendations and dialogues from each of these round-tables will be compiled and submitted to the relevant ministries of the Government of India. In the era of freedom, data connectivity via the internet, has emerged as one of the most powerful tools for communications, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said. “Infringement of customer privacy by government agencies through telecom networks have forced the industry to initiate discussions on the global best practices on communications privacy and surveillance and relevant Indian jurisprudence,” he added. “India’s antiquated communications surveillance laws do not serve the best interests of law enforcement agencies, service providers or the general public,” CIS Legal Advisor Bhairav Acharya said. Also Read - Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk to enter India's broadband market with satellite internet services
Legal reform is necessary to identify the limits of permissible surveillance, protection of privacy, procedure of intercepting communications, expectation of service providers and freedom of all Indians, he added. The law must keep up with technological advancements to create a balanced, proportionate and fair mechanism to enable and regulate surveillance. This will serve India’s national interest, Acharya said.