Phone tapping: Agencies may surrender interception equipment
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 22:57
New Delhi: Private firms including detective agencies using passive interception equipment may have to surrender them to the government, if the amendments planned by the Centre to the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 come into force.

Government sources said an amendment in the Telegraph Act is being worked on and could be introduced in the next Parliament session.

As per the proposed amendments, import of such equipment which helps in off-air recording of mobile conversations could be severely regulated and could also be licensed.

They said under the new rules, private firms already using such equipment will have to surrender the same within a period or will face heavy fines in case they fail to do so.

The steps, sources said, is being taken to prevent the sale of such equipment which is now easily available in the market.

Currently, all one has to do is to buy such equipment, which are not very costly, and place it near any phone which one needs to snoop into.

For example, any person near any building sitting in car with such equipment can listen into conversations of a person inside the building without the victim knowing anything about it.

Similar equipment was believed to have been used to listen in conversations of several political leaders by a government agency recently and when matters came to light, created an uproar in Parliament.

The proposed amendment will also make it necessary for security agencies to have clearance for doing passive recording of phone conversations.

Currently, the Telegraph Act does not have any section to control passive interception.

"Only matters related to intelligence needs like terror related conversations will be kept as records. All other conversations will be deleted," sources said.


First Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 22:57

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