The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Wednesday said it has asked 21 smartphone manufacturers across the world -- of which majority are Chinese -- to share the security procedures and processes they have undertaken to ensure security of mobile phone devices.
This comes after several reports across the globe of data leakage and theft.
A senior official at the ministry said the government has taken this step to ensure that mobile phone users have assured data privacy in the wake of reports of data leakage and theft both domestically as well as abroad.
The government has asked the companies to furnish the information by August 28 and most of these companies are Chinese smartphone makers. As per an Economic Times report, they have been asked to get back with details of the processes they follow – whether security of the device insides the device, its operating system, the browser on the device the pre-loaded apps.
"There's a need to ensure safety and security of mobile phones or smartphone... that hold valuable information of users as they use the phone to make digital payments and have personal data," a senior official in the ministry told ET.
The official says that action will be taken against devices that fail the audit and the check.
"We cannot ignore that data is being leaked to a third country. Data is a big resource now and it's important to us to ensure its safe," he added.
ET reports that as per the IT Act, section 43 (a), a company is responsible to make sure that it keeps the data of users safe, and the rules have to be complied with. There's a provision of unlimited compensation and penalties of Rs 5 crore through state level arbitrators.
There have been cases -- locally and internationally -- of contacts, text messages being leaked. There has also been an issue of data on remote servers and most smartphone makers selling phones in India are Chinese and their serves are not located in India.
The government is upgrading testing facility in existing labs and the verification and testing of the devices will be done in India itself.
With IANS Inputs