Telephone Tapping Case DOT Clarifies: Power Rests with the Government to order Interception of any Telegraph Message for Security Reasons
The Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT here by inform that the Government has power to order the interception of telegraph message (means any communication sent by telegraph, or given to a telegraph officer to be sent by telegraph or to be delivered) under the sub-section 2 of Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence. The telegraph has been defined as “any appliance, instrument, material or apparatus used or capable of use for transmission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, visual or other electro-magnetic emissions, Radio waves or Hertzian waves, galvanic, electric or magnetic means” in the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
The Establishing, maintaining or working unauthorized telegraph; Intrusion into signal- room, trespass in telegraph office or obstruction; Unlawfully attempt to learn contents of messages and Intentionally damaging or tampering with telegraphs are offences as per the provision under Section 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The possession of wireless telegraphy apparatus without licence also is an offence as per the provision under Section 3 and 6 of Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.
It has come to the notice that some persons, companies including PSUs, private vendors and private detective agencies are establishing, maintaining or operating unauthorized communications network including wireless network (GSM / CDMA / BWA etc. ) for unauthorized monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communications, and some time are importing these equipments for demonstration purpose to Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs) for short duration. Such type of acts violate the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 & Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and persons / companies involved in such types of acts are liable to punishment as per provision of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 & Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.
It is to further inform that under the law, no equipment/sub-system can be used for unauthorized communication network, monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication.
The persons and companies who imported, procured or possess the equipments / sub-systems capable of monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication are directed to inform the details of such equipments within 60 days of the publication of this release in the prescribed Proforma to the respective Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells of Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The list of TERM Cell of DoT, their contact details and prescribed Proforma are given at the DoT website: www.dot.gov.in.
The information about the persons / companies who possess, have imported or procured or assembled or manufactured the equipments / sub-systems having capabilities of monitoring, intercepting and surveillance of communication is also being independently compiled by the Government through its own sources. The persons / companies who will not be filing information as per Proforma within 60 days of publication of this notice / suppressing the facts will render them liable for prosecution under the law, which provides for imprisonment which may extend to three years and for imposition of fines.
Department of Telecommunications, M/o Communication & IT
New Delhi, December 30, 2010
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