India will not compromise on security, firm on BlackBerry


New Delhi : India will not compromise on its security and all telecommunication data-related companies will have to comply with its demands, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Wednesday.

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Presenting his ministry’s monthly report on security, Chidambaram said all companies who have come under the scanner of security agencies, including Research in Motion (RIM), Skype and Google, will have to find ways of providing access within 60 days.

“Discussion on technical solutions for further access are continuing and the matter will be reviewed within 60 days,” said Chidambaram, who was accompanied by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.

At a talk organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry Tuesday evening, Chidambaram had said: “Our stand is firm. We look forward to get access to data. There is no uncertainty over it.”

India has asked companies that allow users to make voice calls over the Internet and RIM to provide security agencies access to their encrypted data.

“I do not want to go into details as the talks are still going on. But all the companies, which are providing communication services in India, will have to provide lawful access to (their telecommunication) data (to security agencies),” said Pillai, on being asked if notices have been sent to the likes of Google to allow access.

“They have to install servers in the country. The key word is lawful access and they will not be required to install server in India if they are able to provide access to their data without installing it.”

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 government had extended the deadline for RIM to comply with its demands Monday by 60 days and said it will examine the efficacy of the technical solutions given by the smart phone maker in accessing its popular BlackBerry email service and messaging services.

The Department of Telecommunications has also been asked to provide a report on the feasibility of services provided through a server located in India within two months.