India to Monitor Internet, Telecom User Data

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Sept. 3 – Indian authorities are requiring communication service companies like Google and Skype to allow access to user data within two months as part of government efforts to tighten security.

The news comes after authorities threatened to ban Blackberry use in India if Research In Motion did not give them the ability to monitor messages. Communication service companies will now have to begin installing servers in the country if they want to comply with security access rules in one of the world’s most promising telecommunications markets.

“The government was under criticism that it was targeting only [RIM], but with this move, it shows that it wants to monitor all the telecom firms operating in India,” Romal Shetty, national head of the telecom-sector advisory at consulting firm KPMG told the Wall Street Journal. “[The government] has to balance between our security and privacy concerns.”

Internet access remains largely undeveloped in India where only six percent of its more than one billion citizens have access to the internet.

The Department of Telecommunications is scheduled to submit a report soon tackling the benefits of an Indian based server.