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India drags Google, Skype into BlackBerry ban threats

updated 09:55 am EDT, Fri August 13, 2010

Encrypted messaging services pose threat

The Indian government has added Google and Skype to BlackBerry services in the list of possible bans. Officials are demanding that its security agencies be able to intercept and monitor encrypted e-mail and messaging services and believes all companies, including Google and Skype, could be subject to scrutiny.

Investigations into the 2008 Mumbai attacks determined that the terrorists coordinated their attacks using mobile and satellite phone services. Had authorities been able to access their communications in a readable format, they argue, they may have been able to put in place a response to nullify the threat. Much of the phone traffic, however, came over regular SMS and was relatively easy to access.

The news came after the Indian government had given RIM until August 31 to address its national security issues. It also followed a tentative deal struck between RIM and the Saudi government to avert a Blackberry messenger ban in Saudi Arabia over similar concerns, although this is no longer certain.

RIM's security methods may prevent any easy access, as encryption happens on the fly and creates keys that only the sender and recipient have. The Canadian company thus only has a limited amount of control over what it can show, as India, Saudi Arabia and others could normally only see that a message exists, not its content.

by MacNN Staff



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