India seeks 'lawful access' to all telecom data

India seeks 'lawful access' to all telecom data

Home ministry officials said agencies involved in monitoring voice and Internet data have asked firms like Skype, Google and Virtual Private Network (VPN) to provide access to calls that can be made to traditional landline phones or mobile phones using the Internet.

"Yes, we have expanded our quest for lawful access of telecom data," a senior home ministry official told IANS on being asked if the government would now target such communication, which cannot be monitored currently.

"The ministry of home affairs has made it clear that any communication through the telecom networks should be accessible to the law enforcement agencies and all telecom service providers including third parties have to comply with this," the home ministry said Monday.

The services offered by the likes of Skype and Google convert audio in a digital format that is later transmitted over the Internet. So a Skype user can make a call using a regular Internet connection to another computer, or a regular landline and mobile phone.

Though such calls are not allowed within the country, it is possible to do so for international calls. Security agencies have a problem with such calls as they are not able to monitor the encrypted content.

The official, who did not wish to be identified, said the home ministry will issue notices to such firms seeking "access to their data routed into and out of India in readable and intelligible forms."

The government Monday gave RIM 60 days to work out a feasible solution with the department of telecom, including the possibility of locating a server in India.
During the period, the government's technical experts will examine the feasibility of the solutions provided by companies like Goggle and Skype.

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