Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mobile Phone Laws In India Needed

In this column, Mr. B.S.Dalal, Partner of India’s exclusive techno legal ICT law firm Perry4Law, has shared his views about the requirements of enacting mobile phone laws in India.

We have no dedicated cell phone laws in India. Further, we do not have a robust mobile cyber security in India. In this background, absence of a dedicated mobile phone law in India is not a good sign.

Mobile phones are increasingly being used for multi purpose in India. However, legal framework for mobile phones in India is still missing. Some provisions can be made applicable to mobiles in India through the information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) but we still do not have a dedicated mobile phone laws in India.

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has proposed a new national telecom policy of India 2011 that would be operational very soon. The new telecom policies as well as other projects of Indian government and DoT are excessively favouring e-surveillance in India and surveillance of Internet traffic in India. We need a legally valid e-surveillance policy of India to address these issues. Otherwise, it would violate human rights protection in cyberspace.

The proposal to allow DoT to monitor cell phone locations in India is also a controversial issue. Big brother must not overstep its limits in India. The proposed cell site based e-surveillance in India has crossed this limit well beyond those permitted by Indian Constitution.

We must have well defined procedure and cell site data location laws in India. As we have no dedicated privacy laws, data protection laws, data security laws, anti telemarketing laws, anti spam laws, etc, mobile phones monitoring in India is not legally sustainable.

Even the proposed central monitoring system (CMS) project of India is not legitimate and legally sustainable as there is no legal framework that justifies its operation in India. Currently there is no phone tapping law in India that is constitutionally sound and we urgently need a lawful interception law in India. Similarly, the colonial phone tapping laws of India must be repealed and new and constitutionally sound phone tapping laws in India must be formulated.

The mobile phone laws of India must cover all these issues that are presently left unaddressed. In the absence of such laws, mobile phone data analysis, mobile phone location tracking, mobile phone tapping in India, etc are illegal and unconstitutional.