Google and Skype set to face Indian crackdown

India's security agencies have turned their attention towards Skype and Google this week after a reprieve following high-profile talks with Blackberry maker Research in Motion about ways to allow Indian security forces to monitor data.

The security agencies have been struggling to monitor content shared via Gmail and Skype due to the high encryption used by the services. India's security agencies are concerned that services such as Skype are being used by terrorists to bypass traditional monitoring systems put in place for telephone calls. Skype and Google are both set to receive an ultimatum from the spies in New Delhi.

"The notices to these entities will be issued beginning Tuesday and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks," a senior official told PTI news agency late Monday. India is also targeting "virtual private networks", which give workers secure access to their company networks when they are working away from the office.

The move follows similar threats to Research in Motion (RIM) who manufacture BlackBerry devices. A ban had been threatened for this week after security agencies requested greater access to RIM's networks and encrypted data services. RIM said it would support India's need for "lawful access" and India has delayed the ban for 60 days.

A spokesman for Google, Gaurav Bhaskar, told AFP the company was yet to receive a notice. "Once we receive it we will be in a better position to comment on what they are looking for," he said, adding that he expected the concern to be the Gmail service.

Image Credit: DFID / Pippa Ranger (Flickr)

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spenumatsa said,

Because it is one of the largest market for mobile communications in the world in terms of growth. And India has every right to do so just as the United States when it comes to National security. India is more prone to terrorist activities than the US because it has a dirty neighbour whom the US supports.
+1

Very few people actually know what you know.

if we make VPN's have to change, shouldn't they also require LAN's to have a way for gov to get into? I mean you can do stuff illegally on a LAN too and the gov cant see it </sarcasim>

somethingelse said,
Typical government using terrorism as an excuse to spy on everyone.

India has no need to spy on everyone. It is because of how terrorists use modern communication to plan their activities and the Indian Government has every right to do so for its National security. National security is not a patent or right for the United States alone.

somethingelse said,
Typical government using terrorism as an excuse to spy on everyone.

Well do you know about India's 26/11 Mumbai attack ?

spenumatsa said,

India has no need to spy on everyone. It is because of how terrorists use modern communication to plan their activities and the Indian Government has every right to do so for its National security. National security is not a patent or right for the United States alone.


no one even mentioned the u.s. but you felt you had to just throw that in.
ok, we get it, you hate the u.s... you don't need to tell us multiple times. go outside and play.

somethingelse said,
Typical government using terrorism as an excuse to spy on everyone.

Or their hackers just suck. Don't hear the US or the UK or w/e complaining about not being to listen in on Blackberry traffic. Or Gmail traffic

somethingelse: Then how do you propose balancing the government's need for security with the individual's need for privacy? Yes; I understand the philosophical nature of the debate - however, said debate simply does not take place in a vacuum (what's worse, the world is far from perfect). Sticking our heads in the sand is no longer possible.

I don't know why they have to portray India like this ALL the ****ing time. They make us look pre-historic.

Back to the topic: Well, this... is... bad. Honestly, our government is just using it as an excuse.

Ishanx said,

Back to the topic: Well, this... is... bad. Honestly, our government is just using it as an excuse.

+1
lame govt trying to show that, they are doing something. There's also the me too with China which got RIM to install a server in their country.
may the govt could instead build / fix the roads messed up due to mansoons

Ishanx said,
I don't know why they have to portray India like this ALL the ****ing time. They make us look pre-historic.

Back to the topic: Well, this... is... bad. Honestly, our government is just using it as an excuse.

No offense, but from all the times I've visited before, the country IS prehistoric. You have people who don't know when their next meal is but somehow still have prepaid cellphones, you've got luxurious strip malls and skyscrapers right next to shantytowns that are falling to pieces and people ****ing in the sides of the street. The police are the most corrupt people in that country, since a hundred rupee note solves basically ANY problem you have with a cop, since they're not paid enough to begin with and have found that bribes fill that gap in. The place is terribly polluted, the system of roads and civil organization is more or less useless, you have people who completely disobey traffic limits because the cops look the other direction or take bribes, and the influence of religion is so strong in that place that temple ceremonies are often more lavish than people can afford. It's so great and everything to call India an IT hub, but I will never be impressed or concerned with what they do until they take the basic step of fixing the country as a whole rather than worrying about snooping people's phone calls.

Don't they have partially destroyed roads due to the monsoons? Where is the work being done on that? I've read lots of stories about how entire routes are cut off.

EDIT: Hm, person above me beat me to the monsoon comment.

At least my country which is Canada doesn't do crap like that. Invasion of privacy mmm I'm not for it. They are other way to watch someone.

plantemichel said,
At least my country which is Canada doesn't do crap like that. Invasion of privacy mmm I'm not for it. They are other way to watch someone.

wait for it.

plantemichel said,
At least my country which is Canada doesn't do crap like that. Invasion of privacy mmm I'm not for it. They are other way to watch someone.

or you think Canada is not doing it.

plantemichel said,
At least my country which is Canada doesn't do crap like that. Invasion of privacy mmm I'm not for it. They are other way to watch someone.
Give it time

plantemichel said,
At least my country which is Canada doesn't do crap like that. Invasion of privacy mmm I'm not for it. They are other way to watch someone.

Canada is a key partner with the US when it comes to domestic spying. Search the Globe and Mail and you'll find tons of abuses of domestic spying.

Take the Arar case for example. It might have been the US that sent him to Syria, but it was the Canadians that provided the false information to the US to have him renditioned.

I'm not bashing Canada or the US. I'm Canadian. I'm just saying that they are doing exactly what we are doing.

TheEnemy said,

Canada is a key partner with the US when it comes to domestic spying. Search the Globe and Mail and you'll find tons of abuses of domestic spying.

...

I'm not bashing Canada or the US. I'm Canadian. I'm just saying that they are doing exactly what we are doing.

+1

Very few people know what you know.

before long encryption of any kind will be against the law in the name of terorism and child pornography.
that and we'll have to have special id's and card readers hooked up to our pc's to use the internet to verify our identities and log our activities, to ensure we do nothing illegal while online, or also voice unpopular or anti government views.
iran will be especially happy to get this kind of tech, they will no longer have to beat their citizens to get their twitter fb and blog passwords after a sham election.
cyber bully advocates will rejoice at such news, because law enforcement doesn't seem to have either the tools or know how to track people online that anonymous has.
coprorations will love it until all these backdoors are used by their rivals in industrial espionage operations against them.
governments will love them until foreign intelligence agency hackers use them to break spy on their citizens(see chinese hackers pwn gmail)
ofc overall news reports on this subject are just bringing this countries up to the level of the US. the US is just quieter about it.

Countries will have to get used to there citizens being able to have private conversations with each other over the net. If its Skype and Google right now, it will be something else tomorrow. Governments that are full of bureaucracy cannot keep up.

so terrorists will use any custom written application with p2p encrypted tunel ...
in short what different it would make if two or dozen most known applications give up theirs encryption to state agencies ?

atm these applications are used by staff of many firms for private or even commercial talks
and in moment these firms and employees realize that such communication isn't secure they will abadon it

state driven industry espionage is nothing new ...

@LiquidSolstice How does developement relate to this topic ? .
I do agree that india might not be as civilised or technologically advansed as the so called superpower ! but we don't live like frogs in a well. Privacy is every ones right but there is a thin line between personal privacy and illegal privacy.What if this happened in the US or UK or even canada and of this developed countries, we'll see these same people bash those compaines in the name of national security.

stigsindiancousin said,
@LiquidSolstice How does developement relate to this topic ? .
I do agree that india might not be as civilised or technologically advansed as the so called superpower ! but we don't live like frogs in a well. Privacy is every ones right but there is a thin line between personal privacy and illegal privacy.What if this happened in the US or UK or even canada and of this developed countries, we'll see these same people bash those compaines in the name of national security.

For one, I was respodning to people saying that this makes India look prehistoric, and I'm saying that they don't need anything else to look prehistoric, it's already happening.

Second, the civilized countries of the world aren't trying to push this on companies because we respect the concept of privacy more than the Saudis an China. Yeah, we have all sorts of privacy issues, but never to the extent of forcing a backdoor into all the phones provided by a country.

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