India: TMT Flash - March 2014

Last Updated: 25 March 2014
Article by Krishna Jhala and Neeraj Dubey

The financial year 2013-2014 brought several proposals for changes in the technology and telecom sectors, some of which have already been implemented. With the announcements on 100% FDI in the telecom sector, the speculation of increased investments augmented, but the simultaneous tax and corruption issues created certain obstacles. Telecom security policy aims to ensure that all future procurements take place from Indian and trusted foreign vendors, the proposals for the new testing norms would further ensure usage of "safe" equipments in telecom sector. I hope you enjoy the round up of all the relevant flash items of the previous year.

* * * * * * * * * *

1. India gets ready to set up cyber snooping agency

India will soon be setting up a federal internet scanning agency called NCCC to spy all internet accounts and online data. NCCC is to monitor cyber security threats and inform concerned law enforcement agencies for proactive action to prevent crime. NCCC will collect and integrate internet traffic data from different gateway routers of major ISPs at a centralized location for analysis. NCCC would be set up at a cost of INR 10 billion and all top government spy and technical agencies including Department of Telecommunication, Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, Army, Navy, Air force, National Security Council Secretariat, Defence Research and Development Organization will play an active role in the functioning of NCCC.

PSA view - In the present internet era, cyber attacks are on an increase and pose as a huge threat to the safety and security of the nation. Recently, Central Bureau of Investigation's website had been defaced by hackers and in another case attempts were made to break into Indian Railway Website. Therefore, NCCC is need of the hour and a step in the right direction to address the shortcoming in the cyber security.

2. 100% FDI allowed in telecom sector

In a meeting of the Department of Policy and Promotion chaired by Prime Minister on July 16, 2013, it was announced that FDI limit in the telecom sector has been increased to 100%. The earlier limit was 74%. As per latest announcements, investment up to 49% is allowed to come in through the automatic route and investment above 49% is required to be brought in through the government route i.e. approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

PSA view - The announcement is seen as a welcome change. However, the policy and implementation of these announcement is what is most awaited. The increased limits are set to bring in billions of investments in this sector. Fresh foreign investments would help catalyze growth and the process of proliferation in the telecom sector across the country.

3. India set to frame new testing norms for telecom equipment

The Department of Telecommunications with the Department of Electronics & IT and National Technical Research Organization are all set to frame new testing standards for telecom gear to shield networks from potential cyber attacks. The Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement ("CCRA") clearance will no longer be enough to certify global telecom gear used in India, announced the National Security Council Secretariat, the apex agency looking into India's political, economic and energy and strategic security concerns.

PSA view - CCRA was created ten years back by UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, to define a common process to evaluate security-sensitive IT & telecom products and an objective to motivate global telecom vendors to find common processes to reduce equipment certification costs worldwide. But now India has started creating country-specific telecom gear testing standards and adopting several measures: (i) mobile phone companies have been mandated to use equipment deemed "safe" by an authorized testing lab in India from November 1, 2013; (ii) India is preparing a cyber security framework and a cyber security policy; (iii) India is setting up a National Cyber Coordination Centre to monitor metadata on cyber traffic flows; (iv) Establish a pilot lab and a full-fledged certification center and development system; and (v) To adopt global approaches to its procurement policies, India is reviewing its Preferential Market Access policy designed to compel foreign companies to manufacture electronic products in India if they want to sell in India.

4. Two telecom security bodies for shielding telephone networks

Telecom Security Directorate ("TSD") and the National Telecom Network Security Coordination Board ("NTNSCB") will frame standards and procedures for testing network gear and monitoring implementation of the telecom security policy. While TSD will primarily coordinate work relating to security policy and project execution, NTNSCB will suggest ways to address telecom security issues in future and also monitor implementation of the new standards. India is also readying a cyber security framework, a cyber security policy and a National Cyber Coordination Centre that will monitor metadata on cyber traffic flows. In addition, Department of Telecommunications ("DoT") is working with other concerned departments to establish testing standards and procedures for telecom gear and has even sought approval of the National Information Board on the draft telecom security policy.

PSA view - Pursuant to the concerns raised regarding Chinese vendors, this step seems to be a logical step also because India is the largest market for network gears and should have proper policies to ensure the quality of products. Earlier the DoT had issued directive to mobile phone companies mandating them to use equipment deemed safe by an authorized lab in India from November 1, 2013.

5. Proposed National Telecom Security Policy

NTSP released by the DoT focuses on tightening the security related to telecommunication over the landline, cellular and broadband. The Ministry of Home Affairs ("MHA") has expressed concerns stating that the policy should allow interception of communication network by law enforcement agencies. NTSP must ensure that there is specific provision allowing law enforcement agencies to intercept telephone calls, voice-mails, e-mails and other services like BlackBerry messenger on a real time basis and also specify proper code for setting up a secure communication network. According to the MHA, NTSP should also cover issues related to priority communications over all networks. National Information Board is the authority which will finalize the proposed NTSP which will then receive concluding assent from Cabinet of Committee Security headed by the Prime Minster Manmohan Singh.

PSA view -Security over telecommunication network has always been a concern within the Government of India. Though, DoT intends to tighten the security by way of NTSP for private individuals, it is to be seen whether government will approve of the same. Use of Chinese equipments also raises concerns over security.NTSP will ensure that all future procurements take place from Indian and trusted foreign vendors. All telecom operators will be required to regularly audit their network for bugs and security searches.

6. India gets the status of "authorizing member nation" from CCRA

The recently given status of "authorizing member nation" by CCRA is a morale booster for India and can help India emerge as a low cost testing hub for IT and telecom products. This status can help India emerge as a low-cost hub for testing security-sensitive IT products used in telephone and other critical infrastructure networks. CCRA is the top international agency that defines common processes to certify IT products used in infrastructure networks in telecom, power, aviation and defence sectors. This status means that India can now issue clearances to companies to set up CCRA-accredited private test labs.

PSA view - The labs in India can offer testing services at a much reasonable cost when compared to other CCRA labs. As these labs employ manual intensive process, Indian labs will have distinct cost advantages.

7. Telecom M&A guidelines to be in place

The Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui has announced that M&A guidelines for the telecom sector should be out within the next ten days. The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), which has approved the guidelines, has sought legal opinion on whether consolidation of companies would amount to sale of equity, violating the lock-in period rule of the telecom license. As per the guidelines approved by the EGoM, the market share of a merged entity should not exceed 50%. Telecom companies that bought spectrum in auctions won't have to make additional payments to the government for radiowaves after a merger. Only companies that acquire telecom operators that had been allocated spectrum will have to pay the difference between the market rate and the old rate to the government.

PSA view - M&A will serve as another way in which spectrum can be acquired.

8. NATGRID Project set to initiate

NATGRID was set up by the government in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks to enable monitoring of terrorist operations through existing banking, finance and transportation networks. Various ministries and departments, called provider agencies, which hold 21 categories of citizen database like bank account details, telephone records, passport data and vehicle registration details, are supposed to be linked and shared in real-time through the NATGRID with the 11 intelligence and investigative agencies, termed as user agencies. The government will soon be issuing an executive order to give a legal framework and mandate to NATGRID.

PSA view -The government is of the opinion that it can use data from Centralized Monitoring System as well as that available via Aadhar and pass it around the various government departments through the NATGRID to stop terrorism. However, on the hindsight NATGRID can have adverse effect. It can be used as a channel to target people who might be against the government. It is to be seen how accurately this project evolves and is used by government agencies.

9. National Cyber Security Policy 2013 ("Policy")

The objectives of the Policy include: (a) setting up of an effective mechanism to obtain strategic information relating to cyber threats; (b) protection of Critical Information Infrastructure; (c) creation of a skilled workforce in cyber security; (d) protection of data during transit; (e) effective prevention, investigation and prosecution of cyber crimes; and (f) creation of a global understanding and cooperation on cyber security.

As per the Policy, the foremost strategy is to create a secure cyber ecosystem by providing for a nodal agency to coordinate cyber security matters, encourage companies to designate a senior member as "Chief Information Security Officer" and promote organizations to develop information security policies. Other strategies involve conformity with global best practices and certification to the various standards, strengthening of the regulatory framework and periodic review against emerging threats. The Policy talks about the operation of a national level body called the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to coordinate all efforts relating to cyber security and work as an umbrella organization.

PSA view - The Policy will be operational by way of detailed guidelines and plans of action at various levels such as national, state, enterprise, ministry etc. It will not only help in creating awareness among organizations but also make them more conscious towards cyber security and threats.Pursuant to enforcing the Policy, the Department of Information and Technology also seeks to form a body named National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre. This will seek to operate as a nodal body for protection of critical information infrastructure.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Neeraj Dubey
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions