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India Now Wants Access To Google and Skype 366

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the voip-is-hoip dept.
crabel writes "A couple of weeks ago India went after RIM and its mail service; it has extended its hunger for data now to all telecommunications. All telecom companies have to give them access to all voice over IP services that go in/out or happen within the country. Heck, they are even going after VPNs used by corporate employees working remotely."
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India Now Wants Access To Google and Skype

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  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:35AM (#33435446) Homepage
    Demanding access to all the corporate VPNs is a great way to make companies more skittish about outsourcing there!
  • well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:38AM (#33435490)

    Maybe this is a good thing, in a way. maybe if India requires access to corporate vpn, it will dissuade security-conscious companies, such as a large, multinational, 3-lettered one, from outsourcing to india

  • If only ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:42AM (#33435538)
    If only all google, skype, and others would just stop service for 1 day, maybe the Indian Government would reconsider. But that would probably be called collusion or something and branded illegal. Were is the State Department? Are they trying to defuse the situation? I ask because I don't know if they have any involvement.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:42AM (#33435544)

    Considering how many businesses still flock to China with relatively little protection for their IP, I doubt this will affect business relations much as long as it is more profitable to do business there than elsewhere.

  • Re:Sevens Sins (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:43AM (#33435570)
    Given that the "Seven Deadly Sins [wikipedia.org]" are a Christian construct and only 2.3% of India's population is Christian [wikipedia.org], I don't think a nation state with polytheistic Hindu as it's official religion will care much about your datum.
  • That's Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:45AM (#33435604) Homepage Journal
    They could potentially do some real damage to their economy while still not being able to monitor all electronic communications in their country. Hopefully they're not putting all their security eggs in the "monitoring" basket, because people will find a way to communicate under the radar. Any terrorists that monitoring catches are probably not the ones you have to worry about.
  • Re:ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Predius (560344) <josh.coombsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:45AM (#33435608)

    Only way the government is getting access to my VPNs in the US is with a court order and warrants, and even then they're only getting exactly what is spelled out to the letter in the warrant and nothing more. Any vague sweeping requests will be punted back up stream.

  • by rantomaniac (1876228) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:46AM (#33435614)

    Seems like the Indian government has found a more effective way of building a great wall around its borders - let the people outside build it.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:47AM (#33435636)
    Flamebait?! This is a VERY valid statement. If have sensitive documents and do a lot of work in India because you own a call center there or something, you would most certainty need to look at this.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:48AM (#33435646)

    so let me get this straight. the indian government thinks it has a RIGHT to intercept all communication that it wants to (sans warrant, mind you).

    does that essentially make personal end-to-end encryption illegal? it has to! the concept of you being able to conceal your comms is in the process of being ILLEGAL there.

    people are commenting on 'well, just use SSH or SSL or ...'.

    but you are missing the point. if they insist on getting access to all comms, you think they'll tolerate people doing an end-run around this?

    the VERY next step is to identify users who side-step this with their own encryption layer and persecute them, one way or another. it has to follow. first you require all data to be sniffable and then you go after those that won't agree.

    I remember about 20 yrs or so ago, it was illegal for french citizens to use encryption (details are fuzzy; I may not have this exactly accurate). but france was some kind of exception and vendors had to do all kinds of backflips to sell to french companies. are we going back to shit like this, again??

    I think we are. its absolutely coming that encryption will be deemed 'munitions' again. or, encryption that WORKS; the bullshit encryption you think you can trust but is breakable will be 'allowed' to you to keep you feeling like you have some control.

    I guess its now: any encryption that is legal is encryption you cannot trust.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:51AM (#33435692)

    India Now Wants Access To Google and Skype

    Google and Skype should just say no. In fact, if everybody said "NO!" then India would condemn itself to being a third world country. It would also give BlackBerry an incentive to say "NO!" too, because if your competition isn't making money off of evil, then BlackBerry isn't losing any business from competition. Of course India (et al) could always just continue to steal technology, but at least that would give trading partners an incentive to retaliate.

    When the democracies start spying on there own citizens then being in a "democracy" is quite useless. Warrants, oversight and checks and balances are what made America (on paper at least) a great nation. Too bad everybody is falling for the lowest common denominator repression that used to be the primary domain of dictatorships.

  • by CaptBubba (696284) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:52AM (#33435704)

    This is especially true considering just how notoriously corrupt a lot of the Indian government is. It has been featured on NPR and other news outlets as being a large impediment to business.

    Then you will have someone in a position where they have access to all of your company's secure communications? For the price of a bribe anyone could find out proprietary information that could sink your company or they could gain access to listen in on calls and glean account information for identity theft or just to solicit customers.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:52AM (#33435710)

    our CFO's will outsource the 'mundane' coding, sure. but sensitive stuff? any smart CFO will rethink this.

    finally, a competitive advantage. at least RIGHT NOW, the US won't demand that all US based VPN's be sniffable at any time and without a warrant.

    we finally have a good reason to NOT offshore; that CFO's can understand.

  • by BangaIorean (1848966) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:56AM (#33435772)
    What nonsense. The only reason India was closely allied with the Soviets was because Pakistan used to suck up to the USA, and used to receive all kinds of assistance from the US. India wasn't as powerful then as it is now, so there weren't really too many options with us. That does not make India any less democratic, so STFU - or is critical reasoning a bit too tough for you? Going by that logic, since the USA and Pakistan have had. and continue to have, this long love affair, one could say that the US is a terrororist-sponsor nation, just like Pakistan!
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:56AM (#33435780)

    I'm posting anonymously as my new employer has not found the time to purchase my company laptop and I'm "borrowing" a co-workers machine.

    So, post explanation, let me say I have many friends, a few family members, and a few acquaintances who are from India. Even knowing how nice these people are and such, I agree with Panda - fuck doing business with India. The reasons I say this are manifold, but include the fact that if American companies quit outsourcing to India (and other countries) exactly how many jobs would be created in the American economy? How much money would be pumped back into the economy that is teetering between recovery and disaster #2? Are companies so stupid that they have lost sight of the fact that if America's economy fails and we cannot get jobs that pay a living (or BETTER) wage then WE can't buy those nice shiny objects they're selling?

    Borrowing heavily and massive credit card debt are slowly being eliminated from the many friends and family I've talked to - and news I keep hearing as well. Everyone is a little paranoid and they are paying off debt as fast as they can; well, most everyone is. We have plenty of people who want to work in the United States they just don't want to work for $5 or $6 an hour AFTER taxes. Unless you're living in a highly affordable area (which eliminates most cities), then you can't survive on that wage without help of some kind.

    Bah, I've digressed a bit but the point remains - do business in America you American companies. Stop outsourcing everything, including the natural talent that America (used to?) has. If we keep brain-draining our research and other knowledge to foreign countries what the hell are we going to have left? We've shipped everything else off - manufacturing, electronics, call centers, etc, etc.

  • Re:Not A Surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:00AM (#33435850)

    This level of monitoring without transparency will just make corruption easier.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:00AM (#33435856) Journal

    people are commenting on 'well, just use SSH or SSL or ...'. but you are missing the point. if they insist on getting access to all comms, you think they'll tolerate people doing an end-run around this?

    I think the legislators miss the point about "encrypted VPN" being such a trivial technology. They probably think there must be around 100 big companies doing that in India right now and they will soon discover that their law is inadapted. Back to the drawing board.

    I remember about 20 yrs or so ago, it was illegal for french citizens to use encryption (details are fuzzy; I may not have this exactly accurate). but france was some kind of exception and vendors had to do all kinds of backflips to sell to french companies. are we going back to shit like this, again??

    There was a limitation to the key length. More than a certain length was considered "military material" and required some authorization. Mind you we were happily generating 1024 bits keys (the limitation was something ridiculous. IIRC but it was something like 56 bits), using them routinely. I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted for this. It bothered vendors though. We do that a lot in France : vote bad laws, do not apply them, use them as a precedent to vote even worse laws, rinse, repeat.

  • by Lokinator (181216) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:02AM (#33435886)
    Shouldn't mean you will necessarily get. Certainly if I were subject to EU or even the lower US privacy standards, I'd have grave concerns about out-sourcing *anything* to a locale that so cavalierly violated the most rudimentary notions of privacy and security. More pro-actively, to the extent a mere slashdot-peon can, I'd encourage RIM to go back to their pre-agreement stance and begin negotiations with other telecommunications providers and ex-pat companies with an India presence to present a united front at both the political and technical levels - implementing further and hardened security and privacy measures rather than undermining the often-minimal security in place today.

    Governments are like puppies. They keep crapping in the middle of the floor until you rub their nose in it a few times.
  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer (1573841) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:09AM (#33435994)

    I'll second that because I see you got modded flamebait as well. It's nothing against Indians or companies that operate in India, but data disclosure is something you need to be aware of. If a company is going to be distributing your information you need to know who it goes to and why they want it. The fact that this would apply to every company that operates in India seems very relevant.

    Maybe you decide it's ok that the Indian government gets ahold of your data. Maybe your data is sensitive and you don't want any government obtaining it. It's worth paying attention to at the very least.

  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:11AM (#33436026)

    our CFO's will outsource the 'mundane' coding, sure. but sensitive stuff? any smart CFO will rethink this.

    Yeah right, the executives that work their way up to CxO are the guys who would save a nickel today to get their bonuses and take a golden parachute out tomorrow when the company tanks.

  • Re:ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:12AM (#33436036)

    Or a "National Security Letter" where you can't neither talk nor complain about?

  • by pavera (320634) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:16AM (#33436092) Homepage Journal

    This really wouldn't be too uncommon. IBM has to have very detailed technical conversations/emails/etc with outsourced people in India, it would not take much to determine their future plans, product launches, progress, feature sets, etc. If you're competing with IBM and have access to all this information, you can easily beat them in the game. Same goes for any company with outsourced workers in India. It's not necessarily that it would "quickly sink" IBM, but it could easily quickly sink a new product launch, or a new division... And if you're a startup, and IBM, HP, or MSFT has access to this information that you've passed off to your outsourced labor, it could very quickly sink your company. IBM releases your product 2 months before you do you're done.

    You mentioned "thinking about your internal security" the problem isn't internal security, it is that your perceived internal security now has an open spigot to the government of India... you have no internal security by default. Employees have to be able to discuss project progress, plans, etc. You have to have product meetings, there has to be communication about these things or nothing will ever get done. And the nature of these discussions if revealed to a third party can easily spell doom to a product, business division, or startup.

    Further, it would be a huge temptation to use this information to trade stocks... Think you overhear an HP conversation where its revealed that they just lost a major customer to IBM, or they are months behind schedule on a new product... You've finally found step 2
    1) Use gov't access to private communication to glean insider information
    2) Short/Buy stock as appropriate
    3) Wait for information to become public/earnings release
    4) Profit

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peeteriz (821290) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:18AM (#33436128)

    Encrypt your data. Public VoIP gets the exact same treatment as the telephone network when you're calling your branch office in Mumbai - if the government asks, the call is intercepted, and any third parties will give out your data - your phone, mobile, mail and DHL/Fedex packages are all subject to this.
    If you want privacy, don't trust third-party public networks and do encrypted message exchanges that you and only you control.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:22AM (#33436186)
    Unfortunately, for anyone who cares about how their data is used, it's the companies who will make the decision. I might switch my bank to one I consider more secure only to find in two months time that they intend to outsource key parts of the business. I wonder if we'll eventually see a niche market in organisations which guarantee to keep your data within the boundaries of your own country (then you only have to worry about your own government getting their hands on it).
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:25AM (#33436214)

    Who do they think they are, the US?

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:32AM (#33436332)

    And Indian civil society is not going to take it

    Sure they will.

    Over the past ten years the government of the USA has eroded the civil rights in your nation, and the citizens by and large have said "meh" and gone back to watching Kate Gosselin on "Dancing with the Stars." Why should India be any different?

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HisMother (413313) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:33AM (#33436352)
    Why should pulling out cost anything at all? Crappy coders and incomprehensible phone monkeys abound all over the world -- India has no monopoly. Buy your commodity services elsewhere.
  • Re:S/MIME (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:39AM (#33436422) Homepage

    Actually, they make a lot of sense. If you rely on blackberry encryption, you have no idea when your privacy is being invaded by the Indian government. With S/MIME, they can't even attempt to spy on you without you being aware. They won't go fishing through your correspondence. They won't data-mine you. They would need to be specifically targeting you and admitting to you that you're under investigation to even have a chance of seeing your mail.

  • Re:Well... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:43AM (#33436502)

    Guys - stop working with India.

    You sound like you are the CXOs of big firms - you are not. You are a bunch of salaried programmers who have no control on what your companies do.

    The few places you have ability to stop .. is say in healthcare. Right now .. most of your stupid crowns come from india, your radiology pictures go to india, and your health insurance (oh and your 401k analysis.) is also done in India.

    If not you - some one else will do business with us. And anyways - since when did Americans do whats good for the country and not whats good for themselves.... you wanted cheaper heavy industries, and manufacturing went to china and blue collar labor went back the backyards. Next consumables went to china (even your dog food comes from there LOL), and next will be you programmers, financial analysts and everyone except your plumber.

    Wanna save your job - go find a hands on job. Do some real work before you demand $100/hr for doing some crap HTML that most high school students could do.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer (1573841) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:44AM (#33436532)
    Actually your example is perfect, that is one of the reasons I prefer to use a local Credit Union rather than a national bank. I have no real guarantee that they won't outsource a call center, but based on the model and scope of their business I can feel reasonably comfortable that they won't.
  • Appeasement... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by divisionbyzero (300681) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:44AM (#33436538)

    never works. It only emboldens that aggressor.

  • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:46AM (#33436548)

    Note sure why you got modded down, I'll repeat your post here:

    "A lot of people don't know this, but the Indians were closely aligned with the Soviet Union in the 1970s. In particular you had the Indo-Soviet Treaty, under which India received military and (gasp) intelligence assistance from the Russians.

    So the fact that they're behaving like pseudo-socialist totalitarians right now shouldn't really surprise anybody. And provided they continue to rent their workforce to US corporations at rates that can't be competed with on US soil, our CEOs and CFOs will continue to patronize them."

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:54AM (#33436680) Homepage Journal
    What he's saying is regardless of the encrypted status of the carrier/protocol that you are using; encrypt your data on your own; in other words, say you want to send an email or an IM, before sending the message, encrypt it, and make sure your recipient has the same encryption tools.
  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:03PM (#33436828)

    And that patent in China means far less than it does in the US. In China, companies copy products and ideas from other companies all the time, with little risk of losing more than they stand to gain by doing so.

    Now in India you may lose trade secrets (schematics, blue prints, secret recipes, etc.) simply because your email is intercepted by a corrupt government official that hands it off to your competitor for a kickback.

    Either way your company loses something that you can't easily get back. These situations are not all that different.

  • Re:Sevens Sins (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:17PM (#33437020)
    "official religion" ?!? 5:Insightful ?!? Mods, are you completely uneducated ?!? There is no "official religion" in India. It's much more secular in both theory and practice than most other countries (for instance, the US)!
  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#33437080) Journal

    If you want to be secure from government intrusion, all of them. Don't be naive and think that US based CAs are any better. They'll roll over for an NSL in a second. If you want to be secure from the government manually create, exchange, and verify your own certificates.

  • copying patents (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:24PM (#33437160)

    ...before china it was taiwan....and before that it was japan. The pattern is to be the manufacturer, learn how the design/ tech/ manufacturing works, then become independent.

    Ex: Wiki 'Giant Bicycle' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Manufacturing)

    It even happens to people who work for a promotion - learn the job of the superior (copy) and then innovate (or bullshit to the higher up).

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by webminer (1619915) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:32PM (#33437314)
    And India doesnt not have massive population that these companies wont see as a market? Either you live in a cave or you are amish to now know how big google and skype's markets are in India.
  • Re:Not A Surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by celtic_hackr (579828) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:52PM (#33437594) Journal

    Sniffing of all incoming and outgoing email in a Department of Defense is usually a good thing. Sniffing all incoming and outgoing email in the country is usuially NOT a good thing. Big difference here. You want your military secrets protected from being emailed by employees and contractors.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:24PM (#33438032)
    If RIM, a pretty big company with lots of corporate clients, has problems keeping their encrypted communications from the government, the government is going to give anyone using their own encryption even more of a problem.
  • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:33PM (#33438162)
    The flaw in your logic is that you're thinking about the long term. In my experience, senior executives are brought in to a company with the understanding that they will do whatever it takes to jack the stock price up a certain percentage, then get the hell out. Outsourcing is perfect for them because it lowers the bottom line short-term, they post record profits, and then get out before it all comes tumbling down.

    Ok, I admit, I'm only thinking of one or two executives in particular right now, but it can't be too uncommon.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:28PM (#33438972) Homepage

    but what native Indian is going to fight this? They all want to be safe.

    You'll be surprised. And not all of us prefer to cower in safety while everything we say and do is monitored.

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