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Skype and Google next against the wall in India

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The Indian government is planning to take on Skype, Google and everyone else offering secure comms once it's brought RIM properly to heel.

The government met with Indian mobile operators yesterday, resulting in an ultimatum being issued that lawful interception of BlackBerry communications must be made possible by the end of August. But the minutes of an earlier meeting, obtained by the Financial Times, show that RIM is not the only the company that the India intends to tackle.

That meeting, held on July 12, was with representatives of network operators and internet service providers, and listed Skype and Google as companies to be targeted over time:

"There was consensus that there [is] more than one type of service for which solutions are to be explored. Some of them are BlackBerry, Skype, Google etc," the minutes read. "It was decided first to undertake the issue of BlackBerry and then the other services."

It's unlikely that the Indian government is interested in Google's search business, but about 20 million Indians are active on Google's social networking service, Orkut, which encourages them to communicate with each other over Google Talk.

Arranging lawful interception of peer-to-peer services like Skype and Google Talk will be more difficult than for BlackBerry. The latter at least goes through a single server, while VoIP communications such as Skype are genuinely peer-to-peer in that once a call has been established the communication is entirely decentralised.

But it's not the place of politicians to worry about how such things can be done, just to decide whether they are necessary, and it seems the Indian government is firmly of the opinion that they are. ®

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