Snooping device: 51 pvt firms under govt scanner | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Snooping device: 51 pvt firms under govt scanner

Nearly 51 private companies have come under the home ministry’s scanner for importing passive “off-the-air” interception devices. Shishir Gupta reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2012 01:33 IST
Shishir Gupta

Nearly 51 private companies have come under the home ministry’s scanner for importing passive “off-the-air” interception devices.

The telecom department has served show-cause notices to these companies and asked them to surrender these equipment.

After a government crackdown on phone-tapping devices last year, around 42 interceptors have been surrendered by the army, state police and the National Technical Research Organisation to the home ministry and the IB. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/10/03-09-12-pg-pg-08a.jpg

A government public notice issued on December 31, 2010, said apart from designated institutions involved in national security operations, use of “off-the-air” GSM monitoring equipment is illegal.

The telecom department served notices after private companies, such as four Gurgaon-based telecoms, did not comply with instructions to surrender these equipment. Interestingly, the IB does not even have a single such device.

Top sources said the Central Board of Excise and Customs informed the home ministry that around 1,51,000 pieces of such equipment had been imported since 2005.

But, this figure was pared down to 67,000 after two private firms told the ministry that they had imported 84,000 mobile sets from China.

The companies were put on notice after the CID, Haryana police, wrote to the IB that if the presumption of misuse of such equipment was being levied on the state police departments, then, why central agencies and private firms were not being accused of the same charge.

It is understood that the Defence Intelligence Agency provided the latitude-longitude of 16 interceptors deployed on the western borders with one device under repair to the home ministry.

The army intelligence has also given details of deployment of interceptors under their control after Bharat Electronics Ltd informed that they had sold 20 interceptors to the military.