The government is “firm” in expecting BlackBerry phone maker to give security agencies lawful access to their encrypted data within the next 60 days and there is no uncertainty over this stand, says Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Chidambaram also made it clear there would be no compromise on the security of the nation in the operations of Research In Motion (RIM)–makers of Blackberry–and other service providers like Google and Skype.
The Minister said RIM has agreed to provide access to some of the communications that are trasmitted through the RIM system and these have been operationalised from today. Chidambaram made these remarks while presenting the report card of his ministry for the month of August today and at a CII function here last night. “Discussion on technical solutions for further access are continuing and the matter will be reviewed within 60 days,” Chidambaram, who was flanked by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, said today.
Chidambaram had said last night that the Government stand on Blackberry providing access to the encrypted data of its core services was “firm” and there was “no uncertainty”
over the issue. “Our stand is firm. We look forward to get access to data. There is no uncertainty over it,” he said during a programme ‘Securing India’s Future- The Role of Young Indians’ organised by Young Turks and CII here.
Pillai said “People who operate communication services in India should give server in India as well as make available access to law enforcement agencies, whatever communications
passes through telecommunication network in India and that has been made clear to RIM of BlackBerry but also to other companies.”
Home Ministry officials said the other service providers included Google, internet phone call provider Skype and service provider Virtual Private Network (VPN) should also follow these directives. These service providers will also have to provide an access to their services in next 60 days, the official said. These service providers have been issued notices earlier
and all of them were asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks in India, a senior official said today.
“There will be no discrimination. All networks operating in India will have to give access to their services to law enforcement agencies,” the official said. He said Nokia, which wanted to introduce push-mail service in India, has already agreed to set up a server in India.
The Union Home Ministry has discussed the security concerns related to voice and messaging services on the Internet offered by Google and Skype in India, both of which
have considerable presence in the country. The data travelling through Google, Skype, VPN and a few other networks is not accessible by security agencies in the country. Even the terrorists who carried out the audacious 26/11 attack in Mumbai, used Skype services.
Google is a popular search engine which also offers email, online chatting and owns social networking website Orkut. Luxembourg-based Skype SA provides telephony services
over the Internet on personal computers and mobile phones also uses proprietary encryption and decryption. VPN is a network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization’s network.