In what seems to be a blast from the past the Indian Government has once again set it’s eyes on BlackBerry maker RIM’s services for security reasons. What’s more is that this time it has pulled in Skype and Google too. The DoT has said that it will approach the companies and ask them to ensure that data transferred through their services is available to Indian Security Agencies. While RIM and Skype will be given a 15-day deadline to comply, Google will also be contacted to ensure that Gmail follows suit. They have not been given a specific deadline as of now.
After a meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Intelligence Bureau, National Technical Research Organization and the Department of Telecom it was also decided to make changes in the existing IT laws. According to these changes, foreign companies will have to provide data to Indian Law Enforcement Agencies. The decision to issue deadlines to RIM and Skype were taken at this same meeting.
Even as some telecom companies were questioning the legality of the high speed internet services offered by Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications, the DoT and intelligence agencies are likely to summon them as these services cannot be monitored as of now.
The security concerns regarding BlackBerry services were first raised in 2008. Tata Teleservices’ application to offer BlackBerry services was rejected citing the possibility of them being used by terrorists. However, some security experts debunked this theory saying that terrorists were extremely unlikely to use BlackBerry services as this would require them to use corporate or telecom service provided email ids, both of which are easily traceable. While the debate raged on, the controversy slowly subsided with the Government deciding not to disturb the status quo… Until Now.
Do you think the Government is being intrusive?Paranoid? Or is it taking the right steps to ensure safety?
Let us know what you think.