Government seeks selective ban on net-based services

Opposes launch of MNP in Jammu & Kashmir 
New Delhi: India’s security establishment has sought tighter controls on mobile communication in Jammu & Kashmir as part of counter terrorism measures, seeking selective banning of internet-based services on mobile phones and opposing implementation of national mobile number portability in the state.
According to an internal DoT, the defence ministry has said that militant groups are exploiting the proliferation of internet-based communication , including voice over internet protocol ( VoIP) that allow voice calls to be made over internet networks, and other mobile-based web applications, to communicate among themselves.
“With militants now increasingly using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) through GPRS connections on mobiles, it is recommended that a case be taken up with the ministry of home affairs and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) for the interception and selective banning of GPRS services in select militant hot spots within the legal ambit,” the ministry said in an internal communication to the telecom department (DoT).
Carriers offer GPRS connections to consumers for using internet on mobile phones. It added that though security forces operating have the ability to monitor and intercept communication of the militant groups in affected areas, DoT must implement and deny certain services in those regions which will help counter the militants’ designs.
The ministry has asked DoT to expedite the process of mobile phone companies acquiring capabilities to track location of calls, which will help in getting real-time intelligence, critical for improving national security . DoT had mandated mobile phone companies to set up location-based services with tracking accuracy of 50 meters nearly two years ago, but mobile phone companies have said that the government should bear the cost – estimated at over $1 billion (about Rs 6,200 crore) – to implement this technology.
The ministry has also asked the department to share details of audits of bulk-SIMs sold by mobile phone companies with the Indian Army and law enforcement agencies in J&K. It has further sought that the government should not implement national mobile number portability (MNP) in the state.
National MNP, or full MNP, allows a subscriber to move from one circle to another circle and change the service provider without changing the mobile number. While currently MNP is allowed within a circle, national MNP has still not been implemented.
“There is considerable spillage of Pakistan mobile signals across the Line of Control into India in J&K (almost up to 20 Kms). This is being utilised by terrorist/insurgents to conduct their operations in the state by circumventing the existing security procedures,” the defence ministry has said.
It has further asked DoT to take this matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and resolve it according to policy guidelines issued by International Telecom Union, a United Nations agency that coordinates telecommunication operations and services worldwide