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Govt may ask Google, Skype to provide security access

Source: PTI
August 16, 2010 20:20 IST
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After BlackBerry, the government is likely to ask two online service providers -- Google and Skype -- to allow security agencies to access communications on their networks.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had held a meeting recently and discussed the security concerns related to voice and messaging services on the Internet offered by Google and Skype in India.

Both Google and Skype have considerable presence in the country. According to sources, DoT may now ask Google and Skype to give access to their networks as the data travelling through them is not accessible by the security agencies in the country.

The development comes at a time when the government has given Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, time until August 31 to resolve the issue and allow interception of all types communications on the device and has said it would ban the services if the Canadian company failed to meet the deadline.

When contacted Google India spokesperson said, "With reference to the current security concerns involving some telecom players, we have not received any related communication from the government on this issue and thereby, (we are) unable to comment on speculation."

Google has a dedicated team specifically trained to evaluate and respond to requests (for information law enforcement agencies) to ensure that it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying.

Luxembourg-based Skype SA, which provides telephony services over the Internet on personal computers and mobile phones also uses proprietary encryption and decryption.

Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), said that he attended a DoT meeting about a month ago where it was discussed that other online services besides BlackBerry, such as Gtalk from Google and services from Skype would also be asked to provide access to India's security agencies.

He further added that the ISPAI is also concerned over the security issues and will extend help to the government as and when required.

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