The Indian government has extended the duration for which telecom companies store subscribers’ call and internet usage data. In a circular earlier this week, the Department of Telecom extended the duration of archiving call data and internet usage records of subscribers to two years. Previously, this limit was set to one year. Also Read - Indian government to own 35.8 percent of Vodafone Idea
“The licensee shall maintain all commercial records/ call detail record (CDR) / IP detail record (IPDR) with regard to communications exchanged on the network. Such records shall be archived for at least two years for scrutiny by the licensor for security reason and may be destroyed thereafter unless directed otherwise by the licensor,” the circular by the Telecom Department said. Also Read - All Reliance Jio plans above Rs 200 now bundled with JioMart Maha cashback offer
The government has cited security reasons for extending this limit. “…it is necessary or expedient to do so in public interest or in the interest of the security of the state or for the proper conduct of the telegraphs,” the Telecom department added in the circular. Also Read - Reliance Jio introduces Rs 2,999 plan with 912.5GB of data: How it compares with Airtel, Vi
In addition to this, the Telecom department has also asked the telecom service providers in the country to maintain CDR and IPDR for internet telephony services, and log-in and log-out details for all subscribers for services such as internet access, email, internet telephony and IPTV among others for a span of two year. This limit too was set to one year previously.
Does it affect me?
The government’s circular asking telecom companies to store subscribers’ call data and internet usage data for an additional one year doesn’t affect most smartphone users in the country. At least not in a functional way.
Typically this information is used by the government and the security agencies for detecting and thwarting threats. Storing the data for an additional year is probably just an added security measure by the government amid the existing geo-political atmosphere in the world.
Separately, the government is also planning to make changes to the telecom regulations in the country in a bid to reduce excessive regulations and pending cases in the industry. LiveMint reports that among other things, the government is planning to change existing laws to boost growth in the industry.