Let's Build a Responsible Cyber Society




Are the Mobile Service Providers Ready for the Challenge?

Recent developments in the Indian Security scenario has imposed many new responsibilities on the Indian Mobile Service Providers. On the negative side, with the terrorist activities on the rise any new technological device is prone to being misused by the terrorists.

We are now on the threshold of widespread introduction of e-mails over the mobile network as well as the use of mobile network for connecting laptops to Internet. These developments place the mobile service providers directly in the firing line of terrorist misuse.

Whenever the network is misused to commit a crime, the network operator would come in for vicarious liabilities arising out of the crimes. The only escape for the network operators is to focus on "Due Diligence" so that they would not be liable for the offences but can take refuge under Section 79 of ITA 2000 or similar provisions under other laws.  However this requires institution of a Cyber Law Compliance programme by the service provider.

Sooner the service providers bestow their attention on what constitutes Cyber Law Compliance and implement necessary due diligence efforts, it is better for them and for the country.

On the positive side, the recent RBI guidelines on mobile banking has opened a new avenue of business for mobile service providers. By upgrading their service offers, a new source of e-commerce revenue can be reaped in by the mobile service providers to offset the falling revenue on the voice call side.

In order to fully exploit the opportunities presented by the Mobile Banking opportunities, the service providers need to also introduce  appropriate process and information security for their operations. Presently the computer based Internet Banking is considered as a weak channel and informed Bank customers are wary of using the facilities. The mobile Banking will therefore be a non-starter unless the system lends to security which is better than the existing Internet Banking security.

In fact it is debatable if the RBI initiative is a little pre-mature since we donot even have a good Anti Virus and Anti Spoofing mechanism for Mobiles. Probably the industry should respond to this generous gesture of RBI with an immediate security upgradation plan.

Are the Mobile Service Providers Ready for the Challenge?


September 21, 2008

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