The Government is stepping up the pressure on International email providers like Google, Yahoo and others, to route all mails being accessed in India through their Indian servers. This applies to all International email accounts that are being accessed in the country. This new directive is being considered because security agencies have expressed their concern about the difficulties in tracking suspicious accounts.
This concern was raised at a recent meeting of the Home Ministry where the Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh asked the representatives of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) to take this up with the email providers in this country. It came to the notice of the officials that Yahoo does not route emails from accounts registered abroad and accessed in India to their Indian servers. The Indian Security agencies identified this as a problem when they were trying to access email accounts of people suspected of being linked to the Indian Mujahideen during a surveillance period. It seemed these email accounts were registered and opened up in an European country.
On being approached with this, email providers told officials that since these accounts are registered to a different country they need to send a request to their servers in the said country. The Government will have to issue a request to the companies servers in a foreign land which may not be the quickest way to solve this.
The Government misunderstands the scale of their request. International accounts accessed in India may represent a whole lot of people including Indians, expats and tourists. Basically, we need permissions and requests to access the data from foreign servers and not every country treats this kind of an intrusion kindly. The bureaucracy in diplomatic circles may mean that this procedure may take a whole lot of time.
Although this is the only way to pre-empt security threats to the country, this move by the government and the security agencies may also be harmful to the privacy rights of many citizens of Indians and foreigners.
Is this a right move on the Indian Government’s part? Do let us know.