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Kabil Sibal clarifies on IISc-Huawei MoU

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VoicenData Bureau
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Amidst the apprehension raised by some media reports regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and Chinese company Huawei, Union Minister of Communications & IT, on Telecom Kapil Sibal said this may not be based on proper assessment of facts. He clarified that India has decided to conduct testing and certification of software and hardware of all foreign telecom companies and has actually initiated the process with Huawei of China.

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“Apprehensions have been recently expressed in certain sections of media regarding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and Chinese company Huawei, to provide documentation, expertise, methods and standards for studying telecom equipment. This may not be based on proper assessment of facts,” said the minister.

The decision to conduct testing and certification of software and hardware had been taken due to the fact that in today's multi operator/ vendor environment, risk to security of networks and related services, possibilities of theft and misuse of database, leakage of secure and personal information passing through the networks have nowadays increased considerably due to factors like service denial attacks on the networks, possible presence of malwares/security bugs in the network elements etc., added the minister.

“Government had recently approved “Center for Telecom testing and Security Certification”, which was earlier a pilot project at IISc Bangalore, to be scaled up to a full-fledged center in due course of time, at estimated cost of Rs 60 crore, out of which, Government funding may be to the tune of Rs 50 crore,” said Sibal.

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The proposed center would formulate standards and policies as well as provide facilities for testing, validation and security certification for various network elements in order to render the networks secure and less vulnerable from internal and external threats. The center would also involve creation of test bed facilities and capacity building for networks' security so that each network element is tested and validated before integration with the networks.

“In order to perform 'testing' on recent generation of telecom hardware being manufactured world over, IISc Bangalore had simultaneously approached several vendors like Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, etc, from US, Europe and Asia to share internal details of their Telecom equipments like Detailed Design Document & Internal Architecture (both software and hardware) which are vital for detailed testing,” said Sibal.

Talking about the secretive nature of the information that the companies share with the testing laboratories, Sibal said all vendors normally insist that Testing laboratories should sign “Non-Disclosure-Agreement”, prohibiting labs to make their study report public in a manner prejudicial to business interests of vendor, without explicit prior consent of vendor. “Huawei responded proactively before other vendors and hence requisite MOU got signed on June 15, 2011 between IISc Bangalore and Huawei,” he added.

“It may be understood that Huawei is not helping IISc Bangalore to set up any Lab as IISc has already set up the same as part of old pilot project, wherein all the equipment and software are theirs. MOU signed between the two is more like a non-disclosure-agreement so that the information that IISc gets from Huawei is not disclosed to others,” the minister clarified.

He also said IISc Bangalore had contacted simultaneously several vendors from US, Europe and Asia to give the internal details, for getting their telecom equipments tested.

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