Twelve smartphone firms respond to govt notice on data safety

The government had, earlier this month, sent notices to 30 companies in two tranches, seeking information on their data security procedures in a bid to ensure privacy and protection of consumer data.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2017 12:50 pm
Mobile handset companies, Indian government, data privacy, government smartphone company notice, consumer data protection, mobile hardware check, mobile software check, apps and software scrutiny, device audit According to an IT and Electronics Ministry official, as many as 12 firms, including HTC, Xiaomi, Vivo, Lenovo and Huawei, have sent in their responses. (File Photo)

A dozen mobile handset companies, including HTC, Xiaomi and Lenovo, have replied to the government on data security procedures adopted by them, while some other manufacturers have sought more time to respond, an IT ministry source said. The government had, earlier this month, sent notices to 30 companies in two tranches, seeking information on their data security procedures in a bid to ensure privacy and protection of consumer data.

According to an IT and Electronics Ministry official, as many as 12 firms, including HTC, Xiaomi, Vivo, Lenovo and Huawei, have sent in their responses. Some companies have acknowledged and requested more time, the official said, adding the government is likely to extend the deadline for receiving comments.

iPhone maker Apple, in an e-mail, confirmed it has submitted its response to the government, while an official from Vivo said the company had replied to the notice. The Electronics and IT Ministry, on August 12, wrote to 21 companies, majority of them Chinese, asking them to outline the procedures and processes adopted by them to ensure security and privacy of users data.

Subsequently, nine more companies, including Motorola, Honor, Asus, OnePlus, InFocus, were added to that list, taking the total number of such companies to 30. The IT ministry had said it will write to all smartphone makers in this regard. The objective of the entire exercise is to ensure that required data security measures are being taken with regard to hardware and software in mobile phones.

The IT ministry had cited international and domestic reports about data leaks from mobile phones, and said devices and pre-loaded software and apps will be under scrutiny in the first phase. Based on the response of the companies, the ministry will initiate verification and audit of devices where required. It had also warned of penalties under provisions of IT Act 43 (A) in case stipulated processes are not being followed.

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