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After BlackBerry, India now wants access to Google, Skype, VPN data

September 1, 2010

A day after giving the maker of BlackBerry two months to open its data to authorities, Indian regulators have put all telecom firms on notice that they have “lawful access” to their data. That puts a bull’s-eye on Google’s Gmail, Skype’s VoIP calls and corporate virtual privacy networks.

“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,” an official told the Times of India.

“Any company with a telecoms network should be accessible,” an Indian Home Ministry official told the BBC. “It could be Google or Skype, but anyone operating in India will have to provide data.”

“Skype has a similar issue to BlackBerry, in so far as it uses a proprietary protocol and no one knows what is under the hood,” Carsten Casper, a research director at analyst firm Gartner, told the BBC. He said the government is simply “working its way down the to-do list.”

The government is also targeting VPNs used by corporate employees working remotely.

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