Indian Government wants Data Access for Gmail, Skype, Twitter and Facebook
For those who have been following the Indian Government’s hunger for data you may very well know the RIM scenario over data access for BlackBerry services. Now the government once again wants to access Gmail and Skype data, for security reasons.
According to a report on WSJ, Indian officials are not able to keep track of the heavily encrypted data from these services. So, the government fears that these services can be easily misused for criminal and terrorist activities.
Further, The Hindu reports that the Indian security agencies have asked the Telecom Ministry to help them with real-time monitoring of social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. This is to prevent any security threats to the country. The government has already sent notices to Google and Skype, while they are still working with other companies to work out a solution. Sachin Pilot, state union minister for communications and IT adds;
There are a whole list of companies that have been asked to give [access]…provide solutions, because law enforcement agencies, the home ministry and intelligence agencies want that information for national security.
Papers were exchanged months ago…the discussions are on and we are looking at finding a solution soon, since it is a matter of national security.
Google had already been requested to come up with a solution to provide data access to Indian officials. However, the search engine giant rejected the Indian government’s request, stating that it would not be possible to real-time access as the Gmail services are governed by US laws and it would also compromise the privacy of Gmail users from around the globe. Vinay Goel, Product Chief, Google India said;
When users entrust their data with us, we are expected to protect it, which is why, user privacy is very important for Google.
We are not advocating non-compliance and are definitely open to offering the Indian government access to encrypted Gmail communication in the event of a large-scale risk to human life and property.
Well, we are yet to find out how this turns out, and we will update you once we get more on this.