The telecom operators in India can now archive the call data and internet usage records of users for up to two years. According to a mandate by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the government will now allow telecom companies to archive user call and internet usage data for up to two years instead of one year due to security reasons. As per a PTI report, the amendments on the telecom licenses were issued on December 21 and extended to other forms of telecom permits on December 22.
Telecom Companies Can Only Destroy User Call and Internet Usage Data After Two Years
Due to security concerns, the licensor might require the user call and internet usage data; thus, the telecom operators will have to hold it for up to two years at least. If there’s no direction from the DoT after that, the telcos can delete the user data at their discretion.
The data being stored is not to spy on the general public but is being done for the public interest to ensure that the security of the state is not compromised. Telcos will maintain all data, including log-in and log-out details of subscribers for services provided such as internet access, internet telephony services, e-mail, Wi-Fi calling, and more.
Earlier, the DoT had only asked the telcos to maintain all of these records for up to one year. With this record, whenever necessary, in the public interest, the high-level authorities can access this data to ensure that the security of the state is maintained. This is not to spy on people, but a necessary step from the government to ensure that if there’s criminal activity prevailing, it could be tracked as soon as possible through these records and the responsible individuals or organisations or both can be held responsible. As mentioned above, the DoT circular mandating this rule was issued on December 21, 2021.