India’s government has turned its gorgon gaze on Google and Skype, warning them today that their call networks will be shut down if they do not allow India’s security agencies a way to monitor call traffic.
The ultimatum comes as Research In Motion (RIM) managed to get a brief reprieve on a threatened ban to its BlackBerry phones which will see the block delayed 60 days. RIM managed to secure the delay after it gave into Indian demands to offer a back door for monitoring encrypted calls.
India has come under global scrutiny over its proposed bans of encrypted calls, which it says are designed to stop terrorists using them. Indian security services can monitor normal calls, which means suspect groups could potentially use the encrypted networks of Google and Skype.
“The notices to these entities will be issued beginning Tuesday and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks,” said a senior official.
Google said it has not yet received a notice, but did not state if it would comply with the demands or not. It previously got in a very public spat with the Chinese government over censorship of its search engine results, so potentially it may not buckle as easily as RIM on call monitoring. That said, some reckon that privacy isn’t a big concern for Google, so it may sympathise with India’s demands.
While Google and Skype are preparing for an internet call war, there is one thing they can both agree on, and that is that neither of them are going to be very happy with the Indian government’s threat.