Assuring Union home ministry of adequately addressing its security concerns, the National Information Board (NIB), the highest policy making body for cyber and telecom security, has cleared the National Telecom Security Policy (NTSP) for submission before the cabinet committee on security for approval.
In the NIB meeting on telecom security policy held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, the home ministry had flagged concerns on critical issues of decryption of data, creation of a single emergency number in case of disasters, like 911 in the US, and who would implement these two and ensure consistence delivery.
“The ministry was told in the NIB that its concerns will be addressed in due course and adequately taken care of through wide ranging mechanism,” a senior government official told dna.
The assurance thus cleared a major hurdle paving the way for submitting the keenly awaited NTSP-2013 before the cabinet committee on security for approval. Under preparation since 2011, NTSP has been formulated with a view to build-in the security features in the systems, services, technologies, equipment, devices and software rather than being an add-on feature.
It is a structured policy to deal with issues related to the requirement of the security agencies and to secure the telecom network in the country. It deals with the four broad issues of – communication assistance to security agencies, security of communication, information and data, security of telecom network and disaster management.
Responsible for the overall security infrastructure, the Union home ministry is concerned with all the dour issues and primarily wants ways to deal with highly encrypted algorithm data forms like Blackberry enterprise service or Skype that changes encryption every month. Almost impossible to decrypt and crack these are treated as a security risk.
Large scale usage of telecom equipment made by Chinese telecom giants like ZTE and Huawei is another problem area for the Union home ministry. There are serious concerns that Chinese equipment might have embedded spyware that could send back sensitive information to the source.
To overcome this, government is planning to set up sophisticated testing labs with the help of department of electronics and information technology (DEIT) and department of telecommunication (DoT) to regularly check the safety of equipment being used in the country.
To meet the challenge in the long run, the NTSP puts emphasis on indigenisation of sophisticated telecom equipment so that they could be produced and installed in secure environment with all checks and balances.