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Indian Government Threatens RIM, Skype With Ban 281

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-we-hear-you-now dept.
gauharjk writes "India's Department of Telecommunications has been asked by the government to serve a notice to Skype and Research In Motion to ensure that their email and other data services comply with formats that can be read by security and intelligence agencies, or face a ban in India if they do not comply within 15 days. A similar notice is also being sent to Google, asking it to provide access to content on Gmail in a readable format."
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Indian Government Threatens RIM, Skype With Ban

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  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:18PM (#32780634)

    The terrorists used mobile phones and tools like Google Earth to plan, coordinate and execute the operations, India and Israel have been howling about those tools ever since.

    • by kawabago (551139) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:25PM (#32780708)
      Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.
      • by discord5 (798235) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:32PM (#32780794)

        Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.

        Why is it always cars for the analogies? Why not ducks? Or oranges?

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#32780834)

          Why is it always cars for the analogies? Why not ducks? Or oranges?

          It's not easy for a bank robber to escape on a duck.

        • by eihab (823648)

          Why is it always cars for the analogies? Why not ducks? Or oranges?

          Why that's like asking a NASCAR engineer why do they need engines with extremely radical cam profiles! [howstuffworks.com]

          P.S.: The joke is probably funnier if you are like me and know nothing about cars.

        • Why is it always cars for the analogies? Why not ducks? Or oranges?

          Fair enough. How about this:

          Bank robbers usually duck when police shoot at them, so we should kill all ducks and serve Canard a l'Orange in prison.

        • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:28PM (#32781386)

          Why is it always cars for the analogies?

          It's easy to make a car analogy that sounds right, so you get modded up. Then the guy that actually understands how digital technology works can correct you and then HE gets modded up. If a good metaphor was used, only one guy would get modded up. It's a win-win!

        • Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.

          Why is it always cars for the analogies? Why not ducks? Or oranges?

          Or clown suits which most robbers wear and thus make clowning a very suspicious metier for that matter.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Bank robbers don't kill 175 and wound 308 people.

        Furthermore, cars are regulated, stealing a car to commit a felony is an extra felony, driving a car to take someone else to a bank robbery is a felony.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is the reason behind the license plate. If a car is used in a crime it simplifies locating the registered owner of the vehicle.

        • Not really - cars used in robberies are generally, where i live at least, jacked shortly before the heist and then torched somewhere secluded together with other evidence before a quick switch into another vehicle. Sort of like a real-life pay-n-spray.
      • by mollog (841386) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:43PM (#32780890)
        The Bush administration violated a few constitutional laws in its effort to close the barn door after the terrorists had burned the barn down. They wanted to impress upon us how earnestly they believed in thwarting the terrorists, so they decided that we needed to give up our rights so that they could score political points.

        But, as everybody knows, the Bush administration had more than enough information to do the job long before the terrorists ever hit us. What was needed isn't more information, what was needed was better use of the existing information. (Notice that I'm not using the word intelligence. Clearly, Bush needed more intelligence, but that would not be forthcoming.) But we can expect our leaders to make lazy, self-serving choices rather than to take on the hard jobs they seemed to want so badly.

        India is an authoritarian state, perfectly comfortable with internal corruption and cronyism. This choice, to compel telecommunications businesses to open up their data for 'security and intelligence' agencies, will surely be abused for political reasons and its impact on security will be marginal.
        • by mrops (927562) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:51PM (#32780964)

          I for one welcome this for entirely selfish reasons. More barriers the Indian government can put for running a competitive business and outsourcing, the better for us out here in Europe and North America :)

          When Company XYZ looks to outsource, one more check mark on the sheet, Employee can't use BB [X]

          More local jobs, yippee!

          • When Company XYZ looks to outsource, one more check mark on the sheet, Employee can't use BB [X]

            I like the your romantic picturing. Now back to reality. Companies will not be too preoccupied on matters concerning privacy of members of the off shoring company on which they dumped shit loads of badly specified work because they failed to organize back home.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          India is an authoritarian state

          Wow you are retarded.

      • by ghee22 (781277) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:52PM (#32780976)

        Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.

        To be fair, the automobiles have 15 days to comply with publishing who is in the car and coordinates of all travel.

      • by fyoder (857358)

        Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.

        Please don't give them ideas. Not so much banning cars, but requiring all cars to have kill switches that police can access like they do with their bait cars [wikipedia.org].

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by davester666 (731373)

        Well, they must be banned unless the auto-makers give the gov't master keys to every vehicle sold. I guess in India, they do.

        Unfortunately, the gov't doesn't know which cars to drive away in until after the attack...and the vehicle is normally too damaged for the key to even work properly anymore...

      • by mpe (36238)
        Bank robbers usually escape in cars so maybe we should ban automobiles to cut down on the number of bank robberies! Its' the same logic.

        Prior to the invention of the car they tended to use horses :)
    • The terrorists used mobile phones and tools like Google Earth to plan, coordinate and execute the operations, India and Israel have been howling about those tools ever since.

      ...and they are idiots for asking for access to like this. Anyone who is using services for sensitive information will just pre-encrypt, and they will be back to square 1.
      • by the_womble (580291) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @01:30AM (#32783496) Homepage Journal

        Do you think it is really about fighting terrorism?

        The British government justified spying powers "to fight terrorism", but they were actually used to fight minor offences (dog fouling, fly-tipping, government employee false sickness claims).

        Just like the British government, the Indian government cannot really say they need to compromise human rights to make it cheaper to police minor offences, or too keep an eye on people doing perfectly legal things the government and police disapprove of (which also happened in Britain).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Caledfwlch (1434813)
      So they want content in a readable format, are they going to prohibit VPNs? I'm sure there will be an outcry from all the companies outsourcing to their country. Anyway there will always be a way to hide information not matter how much they legislate.
    • It all means nothing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DABANSHEE (154661) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @01:07AM (#32783422)

      As long as as a Web based concern doesn't have a bricks 'n mortar presence in the relevant country/state & does no banking/investment in the relevant country/state, it has nothing to fear from the country's legislature/courts/regulatory regime except a jurisdiction based web-filter, a la China, Iran, Australia, & that's a problem for the relevant country/state's own citizens/residents to deal with or work around.

      Why web based concerns worry about the laws of countries they're not operating from is beyond me..

      • by Cimexus (1355033) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @01:39AM (#32783520)

        Oblig: Australia does not have a web filter.

        It only had an (unpopular) proposal to do so courtesy of a couple of retarded senators. Which has now basically been scrapped. The legislation never even made it to being drafted, let alone introduced into Parliament and debated.

        Problem with Slashdot is that people read a few hyped up, overly dramatic headlines and think they know what's going on ;)

  • by sconeu (64226) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:19PM (#32780642) Homepage Journal

    How will they post their homework problems on comp.lang.c++ for us to solve?

    • by Revotron (1115029) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:30PM (#32780758)

      "please for help with homework, i give problems below. for all grade, please showing steps. due tomorrow."

      1) P=NP?

      2) List and explain three one-way functions.

      3) List five rhymes for the word "orange".

    • by GreatDrok (684119)

      Heh heh, you're not kidding. I work the support desk for a specialist software company and I regularly get e-mail that essentially says 'I don't know enough to do my job and I don't want to do the leg work to find out myself, teach me'. I usually respond as nicely as I can and provide some information to give them a leg up but basically I point them at a bunch of reference sources for them to read and leave it at that. I'm here to support them, not educate them. I don't think they know the difference.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jhon (241832) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:20PM (#32780656) Homepage Journal

    Glad I don't correspond with anyone in India.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      It all depends to a single phone call or support request regarding a critical issue. You may even end up giving private/semi private info.

      Yes, the call centers in India. Wonder why companies panic when Satyam had issues?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:23PM (#32780678)

    Yeah, you're doing it wrong. Just use MITM DNS attacks to use fake SSL certs.

    Love, China.

  • But you don't see me complaining
  • by socz (1057222) <socrates@@@ghettobsd...org> on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:30PM (#32780768) Homepage Journal
    Does that mean they might potentially have access to my gmail? What about people who send mail to me? Does that mean that they automatically get the right to look in my inbox? What if they're spammers and they use that as cover?

    I don't comprehend India's reasoning behind this. It's a serious case of "Hey, you're doing it wrong..." What is the point of protecting (encrypting) or communications if we just hand over a key?

    I don't honestly expect G or anyone else to bend to their demands... but then again, most companies 'have a price' if it can be met.

    Finally, what do you think the likelihood of ANY company allowing India's DoT to actually place one of THEIR servers in the companies network?

    Rediculoussss! (*waves his wand*)
    • Mumbai police found that the attackers had used illegal SIM cards not linked to their identities as well as SIM cards from other countries. So they are cracking down on SIM cards so if some terrorist enters the country they can track him and tap his calls.

      Then they heard about skype which uses IP so they need a way to tap that as well. Then there is google voice (maybe) and FaceTime. They have to crack down on wifi because it works a bit like cellular comms.

      You see the whole tracking of communication thing

      • by socz (1057222)

        You see the whole tracking of communication thing is slipping between their fingers and they are grabbing whatever they can, not expecting to get even 1%. I doubt it will make a difference in the next attack.

        And I agree with you. I always tell people, if I was to become a criminal I'd never get caught! That's what they "all say" right? But people who fall into actually doing that sort of thing don't actually think the way we do (most of the anyways).

        If anything, it's probably for PR and to scare people off from using those resources for 'crime.' I mean, most of them would believe it as long as they demanded it and the companies remain active in the country even IF it didn't happen.

        I've heard SO MANY STOR

        • Nope. However, people who fall into "that sort of thing" and are able to cope with it have much higher tolerance to stress than your average middle-class geek - leading to greater risk taking.
          (Also, I'm not from the US, but how could you get the impression that "the streets are paved with gold" in the US from watching american television? Or does Bollywood portray the US like that?)
          • by socz (1057222)
            At first thought, it was the Wizard of Oz. But after explanation, it was simply their 'perception' from stories told. I've been very fortunate to have many acquaintances from asia/'middle east.' Mostly egyptian, pakistani and indian. But to be honest, this isn't limited to people that far and in rural villages... although I believe the more remote means more believing crazy things. I came across some of that in mexico.

            Thank for the internet!
            • So, you'd say that the internet could actually be useful to third-world people in the regard of amalgamating a more reality-based world-view, even though it's information and memes that westerners take for granted?
              • by socz (1057222)
                You know what? I don't know. Sometimes, believing an outrageous tale is better than knowing the truth. Sometimes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by russotto (537200)

            Also, I'm not from the US, but how could you get the impression that "the streets are paved with gold" in the US from watching american television?

            One famous example (though a movie, not TV... and yes, I know it was a book first): The dirt poor Joads from _The Grapes of Wrath_ had a truck.

            Desparate Housewives: On one income, everyone's living in a large house and has two cars. Even the one with more kids than I can count. Oh, and when one becomes _really_ poor when her husband is blinded, the extent of

            • Al's situation never struck me as strange, but I always assumed they where meant to be stuck in a debt trap of satirical proportions. As for desperate housewives, several people I know live with house+car even though they have only one income and kids - however, they are in debt, and all have middle-class jobs like phone system techie/specialist and ambulance nurse. On the other hand, as stated, I don't live in the US (I live in sweden.)
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      RIM will probably tell them to go piss up a rope - they can't afford to lose all their non-Indian government customers.

      The other two should do the same.

      Speaking of which - all those outsourced-to-India types are going to complain when they can't use their crackberries any more.

      • by socz (1057222)
        Hmm, that just made me think of all the cust serv centers out there. So if lets say, RIM or G placed "one of their servers in India" so DoT can put their server in to monitor, as customers of say, Verizon or AT&T, could we say they're violating our rights to privacy?
  • by Securityemo (1407943) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:32PM (#32780790) Journal
    I hate it when I can't judge if things like this is just power-play or if they actually honestly mean what they say.
    • by Compholio (770966)

      I hate it when I can't judge if things like this is just power-play or if they actually honestly mean what they say.

      Does it matter when the end result is always that they do both?

  • what do u think (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    look here ever one is complaining, but what do you think of US government. Don't u think they have access to ur email and all those stuffs. Recent update was about ICQ chat going to russian company and US law enforcement agencies. http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/06/26/2149233/US-Fears-Loss-of-ICQ-Honeypot [slashdot.org]. Take it ever one has to comply with individual nations monitoring laws....
  • Logically it will be impossible to tell if an account belongs to a citizen or a visitor (unless they add some authenticated sign-up procedure for users). So if I use my email account in India as a visitor, does that make me open to have all my emails read? I have done business in India and lost several deals due to refusing to pay the "special fee" asked by the buyer to make the deal happen. So with my present level of trust in how things are done in India, I can't even begin to imagine how the knowledge gl
  • by VTEngineer (1033634) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:57PM (#32781038)
    they have no right whatsoever to read email traffic. Terrorists have officially won as government is leveraging attacks to increase their power over all. Wake up people, government is the problem. Terrorists, even when very successful, effect a tiny percentage of a population. Yet, the government grows more powerful over all in order to supposedly protect the population. This is about control, not protection. Such a shame that so may are willing to throw away their rights in the face of terror. The terrorists have won. Now they are fighting over who will control the levers of power. The citizens have already lost all liberty.
    • You could argue that governments not doing what they should do is the argument, rather than the existence of a strong government in and of itself. It could be that strong, centralized power removed from the constituents in a place like Washington is not going to give great results as long as human nature is what it is - but that doesn't invalidate government systems with shorter feedback loops, like state-level. But what should be state-level and what should be managed from the top?
      And so it goes. Any non-e
    • by fyoder (857358)

      I'm not so sure I would say that the terrorists have won, or that the terrorists would say that they've won. I guess the assumption is that they're all sitting in their caves going "Oh, they are so afraid that they are giving up all those precious freedoms which we so hate! Hooray, we win!"

      When in reality it's an almost hopeless cause they're pursuing, getting coalition forces out of Afghanistan using fricken jerry rigged IEDs that have probably taken out almost as many of their own building the damn thing

    • by jeti (105266)

      If the terrorists have won depends on their goals. Which goals did they state?

      I would say the governments have won against their citizens.

  • RIM, Skype, and Google's communications already "comply with formats that can be read by security and intelligence agencies" if the government wants to wiretap the suspects upstream of their devices.
    Can it be read? Print it out or keep it on the screen, your choice.
    Is it human-readable? Sure!
    Does it mean anything on first glance? That's questionable.

    I am merely playing devil's advocate.

  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:14PM (#32781246) Homepage Journal

    We have outsourced some of our repetitive grunt work to a company in India. Once we got the glitches and language barrier out of the way, they have proven they can do the job so long as they are told EXACTLY what to do. Otherwise they will halt the moment they go off-script and not continue until we have made a decision. Sometimes I think they "get confused" just to get a break on some of the shittier work, but there's no way to prove this. It doesn't make them extra money to do this, since they have more than one job in the pipeline at any given time.

    The problem is that we have to use e-mail to communicate with them. It's hosted on our own server, and they use a VPN to access it. Will WE have to comply with these conditions as well? If so, they can kiss the contract goodbye because we are bound by privacy laws to keep this information out of the hands of third parties -- including foreign government agencies.

    For example, one of the things they will do is check to make sure an insurance policy has the same drivers and vehicles on it that we submitted to the carrier. In order to do this, they must cross-reference the driver list containing the name, date of birth, driver license number, and state of residence. The middle two of these four are considered protected information under both state and federal statutes.

    Mal-2

    • by McGiraf (196030)

      "we are bound by privacy laws to keep this information out of the hands of third parties"

      outsourcing to India does not involve a third party? sheesh

    • You do realize that India has the notion of serving warrants, right? They can't snoop on you without a warrant, same as in the U.S.

    • This is easily solved when, facing the loss of the contract, your subcontractor just lets agents from the Indian intelligence service use the VPN from their end.

  • Acceptable... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:23PM (#32781352) Homepage

    The proper response from Google should be a simple "Your terms are acceptable.". Followed by all IP addresses assigned in India getting only a "403 Forbidden" page when accessing any Google service, and all search results leading to sites located in India or operated by Indian entities being removed from the listings. For extra Bastard points, all e-mail originating from Indian addresses gets rejected and all phone calls from India get a no-service tone.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:46PM (#32783102)

      The whole thing that makes Blackberry's so popular in the US is their security features. Not just with the public either, the US Government loves them some Blackberrys. They are a major customer and threatened to intercede in the patent case (patents are an explicit right of the federal government, and the law allows them to take them away for various reasons). There are several reasons they like them so much, but the security is a big one. If you look at the BB lineup you find they nearly all are FIPS 140 complaint. Now most people wouldn't give a shit. You can have superb crypto without that extensive verification process. Well, the feds care, it is their standard after all.

      So I can't imagine RIM is at all interested in weakening their security as it is a major selling point to their major customer.

  • The first thing that struck me is the absence of Hotmail on this list.

    Could it mean Microsoft is already complying?

  • The Government shouldn't have the right to come in to my house and rummage through my letters.

    Of course, we have to remember that rights are whatever the people with the guns say they are.

    If Google is disclosing our Gmail to various governments, they better send each of us a plain and clear letter (a gmail email) telling us exactly what their policy in this regard is.

  • Hello? Yes, this is technical support for gmail applications. Am I having talk with government of India?
    Yes. I understand that you are having difficulty with reading emails of your populations.
    Have you been plugging your monitor into the plug on the back of the computer?
    Excellent. I am so very sorry you are still having the problems. We are checking now your network cables......

    Etc....

  • by pankajmay (1559865) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @01:11AM (#32783434)
    However, lets put the main topic aside for a moment and allow me to express the blatant racism being practiced on this forum on every such topic related to India:
    • They stole our jobs.. those a$$holes: It is the companies in US that willingly outsource. These people are simply trying to eke out a living in what their circumstances allow. To call them names and wish evil upon them is simply not right. You have a problem with outsourcing - protest to your own companies. Granted some of these people on the other end of the line can be classified as inept - but don't forget that English is not their first language! It is your company's fault for allowing such a level of customer service, not of the guys providing them!
    • Those simpletons, they can only follow an EXACT procedure: Americans do not realize how much of their mannerisms that they take for granted, is not something that is common in the rest of the world. It is not their fault. Do these Indian employees need to make effort to understand American connotations more? Certainly. But do Americans need to put in more effort to make their language more universal especially when dealing with international personnel? Again the answer is yes.
    • Ha Ha... They have no original thinking, solve their problems in poor English: Every country has various strata of people residing within it. Can I fairly say that an Average American is a red-neck with a beat-up old pickup and homes with weeds around it speaking with a twang refusing to understand math and all? No. I definitely cannot. In a country of 305 Million in America, it is difficult to find one personality profile that fits all Americans. Now scale this problem to 1.4 BILLION people - is it fair to characterize a whole country like that? Absolutely not. India has 26 official languages -- can you imagine the cultural barriers that are already in place??
      Just like any other country, India has some brilliant people, some not so brilliant and a whole lot anywhere in the middle.
    • If India has such a huge population and so intelligent why isn't it a power in the world?: Simple answer to this POPULATION. India is also much smaller in land mass than America. With 1.4 BILLION people -- the struggle for resources is intense. People literally have to fight intensely to even eke out a decent standard of living, let alone living lavishly. . This is something Americans have a huge problem understanding since they never have had such a tremendous pressure on their resources. But when basic standards have to be fought intensely for because there are just so many other people in the race for it -- very little energy is spent on luxuries of life. This will probably even help you understand why your Indian colleagues in US sometimes live like paupers but otherwise earn handsomely. But please just stop and think how you would feel if you are an average academic performer, the best jobs have been strictly been snagged by so many people better than you and you are in race with million other people for one lousy job that is equivalent to burger-flipping in America? Will you still be able to achieve all that you do today?? DOES IT NOT FEEL LUCKY TO BE AMERICAN NOW, even if you are down in dumps?
    • Why not so many Nobel prizes from India, with such intelligentsia?: This is because -- the extreme lack of resources forces many people with talent to flee to a place where life is a bit easy. Where they can freely think about solving problems like P=NP, having assured that their basic needs and even many luxuries are easily met. That country happens to be America today. In fact, America should want such talent to stay in America. These people tend to be the great thinkers of our times, and their contribution usually far exceeds the cost of opportunities America provides to them. The founder of Sun Microsystems - Indian in origin. Most top Microsoft engineers - Indian in origin. Man
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lobachevsky (465666)

      Unfortunately, Slashdot is more or less a support group for disgruntled techies, and the focus of their ire for the past several years has been on outsourcing. Oddly, if you suggest to one of these "creative thinkers" (who laugh at the lack of creativity of their overseas counterparts) to start their own company so that they may then hire pure-blooded u.s. citizens, they'll balk. The irony is that these self-proclaimed paragons of creativity themselves lack the creative spark to be entrepreneurs. I bel

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