India demands access to Skype, BlackBerry chatter

The Indian government had demanded the ability to access to Blackberry and Skype conversations. If RIM, maker of the BlackBerry phone, or Skype, the VoIP service, fail to comply, the services will be banned from the country, according to reports.

Indian spooks are miffed that they can't read encrypted data sent via Blackberrys or intercept Skype calls and conversations.

So the Indian government has given both services two weeks to hand over the tools it needs to snoop on the communications or be banned from the country.

Google has also been asked to hand over the keys to its Gmail email service or face a similar ban, although the search engine outfit, which isn't averse to a bit of snooping of its own, has not yet been given a deadline within which to comply.

A joint meeting involving the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Intelligence Bureau, the the Department of Telecommunications and the National Technical Research Organisation apparently decided that people talking to each other without the government being able to listen in if it wanted to was taking liberties.

According to a resulting government statement: "The Department of Telecommunications will call the representatives of Research In Motion and Skype and ask them to ensure that the content going through the telecom service providers is in readable format. They have to ensure that this is implemented within 15 days failing which services that do not allow lawful interception on a real-time basis would be blocked/banned."