The Indian government is seeking to ensure that it will have access to
the content of communications sent over Gmail and the Skype and
BlackBerry networks in a readable format. The government wants the
power to access communications as a means to combat terrorism. Skype
and BlackBerry parent company RIM have been given two weeks to comply,
or they could find themselves banned in India.
While I’ve expressed concerns before over the decryption of Skype calls in China and Germany by the government, it has mainly been an issue of “is Skype business ready”. While I’ve been okay with the use of Skype for personal communications, that is it.
Blackberry communications is another story. A large percentage of the 41 million Blackberry users around the world are “corporate” users. Which should mean that most of the data between those devices is work data (though we know quite a bit isn’t). RIM supposedly has a symmetric key system while would mean that only the customer creates their own encryption key. It would be very bad for RIM for this not to be the case and would cause a lot of issues with their customer base (many of which have chosen them for their secure messaging).
Gmail… again, this shouldn’t be your corporate mail system. If Google willingly allows this, you can choose to opt out and choose another provider. So while I’m not keen on the idea, at least you have the option.
- RIM to allow Messenger monitoring in India (v3.co.uk)
- India Sets Sights On Google, Skype After BlackBerry (webpronews.com)
- Google, Skype next on India’s blacklist? (zdnet.com)
- Indian Government Demands Right To Spy On Skype, Gmail, Blackberry Messages (techdirt.com)
- India puts threatened BlackBerry ban on paper (go.theregister.com)