•      Fri Sep 29 2023

Government halts launch of Teramox technology for now

Kathmandu, Aug 16: The government has backed away from the decision after criticism and controversy about Teramox (Telecommunication Traffic Monitoring and Fraud Control System) technology, which can collect confidential personal information including call details and SMS of citizens. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ while talking to the media in Baluwater on Tuesday said that Teramox will not be implemented for now.

Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) was adamant of implementing the technology even without law. The Authority was constantly pressuring the telecommunication service provider companies for implementation. Prime Minister Dahal has made it clear that even though software and technology worth crores of rupees have been purchased to connect the system, it cannot be implemented in the current situation.

Meanwhile, the authority has said that this system will not be implemented immediately. The authority said that a procedure is being prepared for the immediate implementation of the system. “We will prepare a procedure by sitting with service providers, the Ministry of Communication, experts and stakeholders,” said NTA officials. “Where to place Teramox, what is the role of the service provider and the regulator, and what level of data encryption will be included in the preparation of the procedure. We have done integration work without damaging the service provider’s system.”

NTA claimed that since the authority is the body that instructs the service provider to keep the citizen’s data confidential, there is no question of misuse of the data. It says that the NTA have implemented only fraud management, revenue assurance, VoIP detection and quality assurance features, not all features like cyber security and phone tapping under Teramox.

Service providers, parliamentarians and other stakeholders were constantly raising questions about Teramox, which was asked to be implemented as soon as possible by telecommunication service providers. It was opposed on the grounds that it was trying to implement a system to give access to individual’s call details and SMS.