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Obstacles in the Indian communication roll out funded by China?


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China has again started to attack the Indian telecommunication, power and manufacturing infrastructure and has implanted a ‘cancer’ in its working. Many ‘Andolanjeevis’ are on the paid role calls to protect the interest of China, from protecting it from the China virus narrative that Virus is formed in India, or protecting the interest by supporting Chinese vaccine import in India or fighting for Chinese companies that India does impose anti-dumping duties and mention that Chinese goods import help poor people to buy goods for their consumption. They also take a stand that China is our neighbour and border dispute must be kept in the back burner and despite its arm twisting, trade must continue. On the other hand nationalist have started boycotting Chinese products and major IT Companies and their products are being banned in our country.

An information security audit is a step-by-step assessment of the complete network infrastructure which checks for the equipment installed and the latest upgrades done in order to prevent any data leakages. The objective of the audit is also to check for the ‘backdoor’ and ‘trapdoor’ vulnerabilities in the network.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is all set to direct telecom companies to undertake an “information security audit” of their networks and submit the report and take all preventive steps to make the network safe, secure and temper proof.

What is an information security audit for the telecom networks?

As the name suggests, an information security audit is a step-by-step assessment of the complete network infrastructure which checks for the equipment installed and the latest upgrades done in order to prevent any data leakages. The auditors also check the data storage and security policies of the company and check whether all sections of the company adhere to the norms set by the company itself.

Apart from that, some auditing agencies also launch a controlled bug into the network of the company to check for vulnerabilities, and see what all systems are being impacted.

The objective of the audit is also to check for ‘backdoor’ and ‘trapdoor’ vulnerabilities. A ‘backdoor’ or a ‘trap door’ is a bug installed in the telecom hardware which allows companies to listen in or collect data being shared on the network for analysis either in the real time or carry out analytics at a later date by a specialised agency.

Why does the DoT want telcos to do this audit?

One of the main reasons for the DoT asking telecom companies to get this external audit done by an agency empaneled with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-IN) is to check for any ‘backdoor’ or ‘trapdoor’ bugs installed on their networks and to make the Indian telecom networks rugged and trustworthy.

While it has not been specifically mentioned threat from any company, DoT officials did hint that this audit was necessary since there were reports from other parts of the world of such bugs being installed in telecom networks by the enemy groups and enemy nations to destabilise the foreign networks.

The audit is likely to increase the scrutiny on the Chinese vendors Huawei Telecommunication Company and ZTE, which have been alleged to spy for the Chinese government and are owned by the army.

For example, in January 2020, the US had released a report in which it had said that Huawei had inserted ‘backdoors’ in telecom networks it had helped build in mobile phone networks in the US and across the world. Apart from the US, other countries such as the UK and Australia have also banned both the Chinese companies on “national security” concerns with the same allegations. UK had given the order to the Chinese telecom giants to build its network and now this order is withdrawn and only the towers will be built by Chinese but equipment will be supplied by safe companies. This entailed double spending in UK and even ex PM of UK was involved.

Nearly all the countries that have banned the operations of these companies have cited the same law which requires Chinese firms to cooperate with the Chinese intelligence agencies no matter where they are located in the world.

Who will do the audit? How will it help?

In its guidelines, the DoT is likely to suggest to the companies that the external audit should be done only by an agency empaneled with Cert – IN. This means that the audit will no longer remain a commercial compliance norm for the company, but will also look into the national security aspects of the telecom network. Though such internal and external audits are done by companies every three or four years, it will be the first time that the audit will be done by an agency specified by the DoT. The report of the audit is likely to help DoT put in a concrete plan to bar Chinese vendors from the Indian telecom market space if any problems are found.

India sold telecom spectrum worth Rs 77,147 crore as operators look to add 4G capacity and focus on 5G. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. led the demand, according to reports, followed by Bharti Airtel Ltd. The Department of Telecommunications received bids for 849.2 megahertz of spectrum in the auction, according to a statement. It was sold at more than 1.5 times the pre-bid estimate of Rs 45,000. Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz and 2,300 MHz bands. None of the operators bid for 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands. While operators stayed away from 700M Hz band due to its high pricing, most other bids were placed around the reserve price, indicating muted competition. All the Chinese 5g related companies were not allowed to participate in the bid.

Anti-national citizens of the country have started filing cases in the different courts of India to put obstacles in the 5G implementations and Juhi Chawla approached the Delhi High Court against the setting up of 5G wireless networks in the country, raising issues related to the radiation impact on citizens, animals, flora and fauna.

Justice C Hari Shankar, before whom the matter came up for hearing, transferred the suit to another bench for hearing on June 2, which was heard again 4th June and the PIL was dismissed and the Hon’ble Justice imposed a fine of Rs. 20 lakhs on this frivolous PIL. Chawla said if the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are 10x to 100x times greater than what exists today. These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems, she said. The suit, filed through advocate Deepak Khosla, sought a direction to the authorities to certify to the public at large, that 5G technology is safe to humankind, man, woman, adult, child, infant, animals and every type of living organism, flora and fauna.

Judiciary also enjoys taking up such cases and they have no interest to take up old cases which are lying pending for ages. Incidentally such news get reported in Congress owned newspaper National Herald and cases are fought by none other than family lawyers like Kapil Sibbal.

Day before yesterday I tweeted about Vietnam being coerced into accepting Chinese vaccine, many replied to it negatively to the extent of relating me with Sino lover. Today, the news came out on what I said. If a dog hides under the bed, that doesn’t avert the danger.

Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Prakash Saxena is a graduate of UBC, Vancouver, Canada. He is an authority on eCommerce, eProcurement, eSign, DSCs and Internet Security. He has been a Technology Bureaucrat and Thought leader in the Government. He has 8 books and few UN assignments. He wrote IT Policies of Colombia and has implemented projects in Jordan, Rwanda, Nepal and Mauritius. Rajiv writes, speaks, mentors on technology issues in Express Computers, ET, National frontier and TV debates. He worked and guided the following divisions: Computer Aided Design (CAD), UP: MP: Maharashtra and Haryana State Coordinator to setup NICNET in their respective Districts of the State, TradeNIC, wherein a CD containing list of 1,00,000 exporters was cut with a search engine and distributed to all Indian Embassies and High Commissions way back in the year 1997 (It was an initiative between NIC and MEA Trade Division headed by Ms. Sujatha Singh, IFS, India’s Ex Foreign Secretary), Law Commission, Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Justice, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), National Jail Project, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities (NCM), National Data Centres (NDC), NIC National Infrastructure, Certifying Authority (CA) to issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs), eProcurement, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA), Lok Sabha and its Secretariat (LSS) and Rajya Sabha and its Secretariat (RSS) along with their subordinate and attached offices like Directorate of Estate (DoE), Land & Development Office (L&DO), National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB), Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDO), National Building Organisation (NBO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), BMPTC and many others.


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