To tighten security and check malware, the government has decided to seek all the details and flow chart of telecom networks in the country. This means that private telecom operators will have to submit all the details regarding their networks – core equipment, access equipment, transport equipment, and support systems – to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).
The information would include every detail about the vendors from whom they procure as well details about rollout of networks, expansion and upgrades, every time such things take place.
The telecom vendors would also have to submit all details about their company, directors, businesses, shareholding pattern etc to the NSCS. This is part of the national security directive on telecommunication (NSDT) sector, which kicks in from June 15. The telecom operators and vendors, also need to provide a certificate that the equipment does not have any malware/backdoors etc and is free of all known vulnerabilities.
The development comes after the department of telecommunications (DoT) recently amended the telecom licence of the telecom operators to make it mandatory for them to procure equipment from only trusted sources, the list of which would be made known by the government. This directive, which comes into force from June 15 is aimed at preventing telcos from buying telecom gear from Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE, though the government has not explicitly said so. If any operator wants to procure equipment from non-trusted sources, it would need to take permission from the government. The annual maintenance contract for existing networks have been exempted from the trusted source norm.
In terms of providing details, multinational firms, which have a India registered subsidiary, would have to provide shareholding pattern up to three levels down including nationality, to ascertain ultimate beneficiaries. The global vendors need to provide nationality details about their key people such as board of directors, global president/CEO and ownership breakdown by type of owner with country. The vendors also need to submit details about global locations of manufacturing, service delivery centres, locations for R&D etc. The Financial Express