India PM puts security rules on hold
India's prime minister's office (PMO) has stepped into the dispute over telecom network security, putting the new measures on-hold and ordering a review by the key ministries.
The PMO has told the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to review complaints from foreign equipment vendors over the new security scheme the Economic Times said.
The office noted “concerns.... being expressed in several quarters regarding some of the provisions of the [new measures].”
While the two-month investigation is taking place, operators can choose to adopt the new security measures or stick with the older security vetting regime.
The DoT has also been directed to determine whether “some alternative mechanism” should be put in place that meets international best-practice.
The department announced the strict new security rules two weeks ago, forcing operators to audit all internationally-procured equipment for security and to place the hardware and software source code into escrow.
Operators found in breach face a 500 million rupee ($10.7m) fine and the cancellation of the whole contract.
Foreign vendors are especially angered by the escrow and cancellation rules, with Ericsson lobbying strongly against them.
Sources within the DoT told the Times that the new security measures were mostly the brainchild of the home ministry, and that the DoT had been allowed little input into the scheme.