Public Wi-Fi without licence may threaten data privacy: COAI writes to governmenthttps://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/public-wi-fi-without-licence-may-threaten-data-privacy-coai-writes-to-government-5260993/

Public Wi-Fi without licence may threaten data privacy: COAI writes to government

It also raised the issue that consumers’ interest could be adversely impacted as Public Data Office (PDOs) and PDOAs will offer internet services without licence, which puts them outside the regulatory ambit of Trai.

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COAI said that the provision of PDOA and PDO model coupled with the proposed de-licensing will enable the unlicensed service providers to offer internet services with limited mobile facility. (Photo: Reuters)

Telecom operator’s association Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the Centre that with Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) having no obligation to offer interception and monitoring facilities, it could threaten data privacy and national security.

It also raised the issue that consumers’ interest could be adversely impacted as Public Data Office (PDOs) and PDOAs will offer internet services without licence, which puts them outside the regulatory ambit of Trai.

The objections of the industry body are based on Trai’s recommendations for introducing PDOs and PDOAs for public Wi-Fi hotspots under a registration. “In the proposed structure, the PDOAs have no obligation to offer lawful interception and monitoring facilities. Further, activities as subscriber registration and verification have been left to the discretion of PDOAs and they have been permitted to even outsource these activities, which is a serious threat to data privacy and national security,” COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said in a letter to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan. Mathews added that as per the Trai Act, the authority is empowered to regulate only the licensed service providers and not unlicensed entities. “The provision of internet services by unlicensed operators will be completely detrimental to the consumer interest as Trai will become ineffectual in regulating the unlicensed entities on key aspects such as tariff, consumer redressal, billing, net neutrality, quality of service etc, which are critical aspects for protection of consumer interests,” he said.

COAI said that the provision of PDOA and PDO model coupled with the proposed de-licensing will enable the unlicensed service providers to offer internet services with limited mobile facility. —FE