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Telcos want govt to clarify onus of security breach post NSD rollout

Telcos have asked the government to clarify about the entity that will be held liable if there is security breach in the network post implementation of National Security Directive (NSD) on the telecom sector, according to industry sources aware of the development.

The telecom operators have given their input to the government in a meeting called by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) about one-and-a-half weeks back, industry sources told PTI.

“A meeting was called to work on road map for trusted products by the NSCS. Senior regulatory officials of telecom service providers attended the meeting and gave their inputs. Telcos wanted the government to come out with clear guidelines on who will be responsible for breach in the network if the government is making a list of trusted products that have to be deployed in the network,” a private operator official told PTI.

Under the current rules, telecom operators are held responsible if there is any security breach in their network.

Another private operator representative said that two private mobile service providers want the government to ensure price competitiveness among vendors in case equipment from China are barred from the networks.

“It was suggested that the price competitiveness can be maintained by way of reducing import duties. Nokia and Ericsson have told government officials that the prices of their telecom gears will come down as they are manufacturing in India and saving on import duty,” the representative said.

In a bid to tighten security of communications network, the government on December 16 had announced the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector, which will mandate service providers to purchase equipment from trusted sources.

Notably, Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei has had its run-ins in the past with governments of Canada and the US. The US has alleged that it did not comply with its cybersecurity and privacy laws leaving the country and the citizens vulnerable to espionage.

There have been several reports claiming that India will likely cut Huawei gear from telecom network.

The meeting was attended by representatives from industry body COAI, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

Telecom equipment companies were not part of the said meeting, the source said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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