DoT addresses that call data records are collected to resolve call drop issue

Department of Telecommunications of India

Department of Telecom of India has responded to the surveillance concerns raised by the COAI over the increase in requests for call data records (CDR) of mobile subscribers on Wednesday with the claim that the call data records were aimed to address the poor network connectivity issues in the country.

The DoT said that it had developed an in-house software tool that would “analyze big data and accurately ascertain call drops in any area.”

DoT has released a statement to the media arguing that its intent behind requesting CDRS was to know the problem of poor calling experience in India and not to violate the “privacy of any subscriber.” The department also noted that it had been trying to approach “numerous complaints” regarding “call drops, echo, cross-connections, incomplete or poor calling experience” in coordination with telecom operators.

“For this purpose, total data of calls made during any particular time period from the identified cell phone tower locations from where the complaints are received is collected to enable analysis,” the statement reads.

Adding to the statement the DoT also mentions that the data didn’t contain names of either the maker or receiver of calls and “only those calls made by a subscriber who enters a given coverage area of the identified cell tower or calls drop/ details of calls received or made by such subscriber are collected.”

The department didn’t mention any specific details about the coverage area is considered for the analysis by the government and it is also unclear how the data would help resolve the issues which are primarily caused by network congestion that is a direct result of mobile tower shortage in the country.

“Only if any call is terminated within 30 seconds and the same number is again dialed immediately, such calls are added to arrive at the final figure of call drops,” the DoT said. It was also highlighted by the DoT that it is empowered under Rule 419 of the Indian Telegraph Rules 1951 to access anonymous data for improving network quality.

Further, the department stated that access to call drop data could only be approved by “very senior officers”.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) that raised the issue to DoT has released a separate statement after the response received by the department to reflect if the response by government is satisfactory and supports DoT’s move, said that it had cooperated with the department to source the information sought to improve network quality and address call drops.

“The TSPs are keen to point out that we work in close cooperation with the DoT on, among other things, issues pertaining to network quality especially on issues of RoW which have been plaguing the industry for many years,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said in the statement.

Source: Gadgets 360

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