Friday, October 02, 2009

India: Spooks Want Govt to Block Skype

Mohua Chatterjee writes on The Times of India:

Intelligence agencies have asked the government to consider blocking Skype as operators of the popular global VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) engine are refusing to share the encryption code that prevents Indian investigators from intercepting conversations of suspected terrorists.

The Cabinet Committee on Security has accepted the recommendation in principle but has not set a date for initiating action. The urgency to track Skype calls stems from the fact that terrorists -- as the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai showed -- are increasingly using VoIP services. The shift to VoIP has been prompted by the growing ability of intelligence agencies to intercept mobile and other calls.

Sources said Skype has shared its encryption code with the US, China and other governments but is refusing to accept similar Indian requests.

Since Skype is not registered here, Indian authorities have been forced to mull the drastic option of blocking its gateways here. This, however, may not be entirely effective as Skype can route traffic through other service providers. The agencies feel blocking the gateways will at least serve as a signal to local service providers against carrying traffic from Skype or any other similar service provider which does not share the encryption code with the government.

More here.


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