Encryption of messages transmitted over PSTN lines
1 Answer

At present banks in both the public and private sectors use a code book for purposes of coding and decoding TT messages. For transmitting messages involving transfer of huge sums, the sending branch codif‌ies the message and the receiving branch decodes the message after its receipt with the help of the cipher code book. Though the public telephone/wireless network is used, the code is adopted only for inter-branch transfers of the same bank. However, if the messages of funds transfer are to be electronically transmitted to different bank branches all over the country, it is necessary that a common code for encryption is used and adopted for all banks involved in inter-bank transactions.

The Committee is aware that as per the existing policy of DoT, the use of Public Switching Telephone Network (PSTN) lines for connecting with other private network is prohibited unless specif‌ic exemption is given by DoT. The Committee strongly recommends the use of PSTN lines between branches and the INFINET network for its optimum use. It is, therefore, necessary that banks are permitted to encrypt the messages on the PSTN lines as well. Permission to use PSTN network for connectivity to INFINET should coincide with the permission to encrypt the messages as well.

As regards possible delay on account of use of PSTN lines, it may be necessary to f‌lee the service provider f‌rom any liability on account of delay, since eff‌iciency of the public telephone network cannot be assured by the service providers.

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