Thursday, July 1, 2010

Indian Government Threatens to Ban Gmail, Skype and BlackBerry

 I share a news report that reached my inbox just now. As adiyen who depend upon Gmail heavily, charmed by the facilities it offers, it shall be a worrying factor for many of us.

Indian Government Threatens to Ban Gmail, Skype and BlackBerry

Bored with China and Pakistan banning web services left and right? Here is something new. Possibly feeling a bit left out, the Indian government has decided to join in on all the fun.
Apparently, the Indian security agencies are struggling to monitor the content being shared over Gmail, Skype and Blackberries due to their highly encrypted nature. According to The Hindu, a reputed daily newspaper in India, “Department of Telecom (DoT) will ask these companies to either ensure that data going through their networks be made available to security agencies in a readable format or face a ban from offering services in India.”
Indian security agencies are concerned that services like Skype are being used by terrorists to bypass monitoring mechanisms put in place for telephone calls. Skype and RIM (the Canadian manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets) will be given 15 days to respond, failing which services that do not allow lawful interception on a real-time basis would be banned. Google will also be asked to use encryption standards that can be monitored by the Government. However, the Government won’t impose any deadline on the search engine giant.
This is not the first time RIM has run into trouble with the Indian government. Back in 2008, there was a similar standoff. However, at that time, the Indian Government had claimed that all differences have been resolved.
Formal notices are expected to be served to all affected parties in the first week of July. While, a Google spokesperson declined to comment, Skype has come out and termed any potential ban as “a big step backwards”.