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Now, video chats under govt scanner

Last updated on: April 20, 2011 12:09 IST

Now, video chats under govt scanner

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Mansi Taneja in New Delhi

After BlackBerry, the government has included a whole host of services, including video chats offered by telecom players, Nokia's push email service and Skype, into the ambit of security issues for a possible interception solution.  

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has started examination of all encryption-based services, divided in 14 categories, to ascertain if it is technically feasible to provide interception solutions to security agencies.

If the department decides that interception solutions can be made available, then all service providers will be asked to offer the solution or face a ban on the services, a senior DoT official told Business Standard, on condition of anonymity.

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The identified services also include different kinds of mail and messaging services, network mobile email, VPN tunneling services and various kinds of proprietary services.

A committee has been set up from DoT and the department of information technology, service providers and security agencies, to look into the feasibility of interception solutions.

The committee is expected to give its report in the next week or two, after which the department will take appropriate action, the official added.

In a recent interview to Business Standard, DoT secretary R Chandrashekhar said, "We are still looking in the security issues internally for encrypted services.

All the services which use encryption in one form or the other are being looked at. The issues here are not company-specific, but being looked at from a generic point of view and what is required from a security point of view."

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The interception issue came up after security agencies faced difficulty in intercepting highly encrypted services such as BlackBerry, among others.

The government has been demanding access for intercepting BlackBerry services.

But Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, have always maintained the company cannot give access to its enterprise services as it does not hold any key.

However, RIM have a full solution for interception of its BlackBerry messenger services in end-January, averting a possible ban on these.

Subsequently, the home ministry has advised DoT to ask service providers not to offer Nokia's push email services, among others. However, DoT is yet to issue a ban directive.



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