Gmail, Skype now in India's crosshairs

India is poised to send notices to Google and Skype about the government's inability to monitor e-mail and conversations.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

After temporarily setting aside its BlackBerry ultimatum, the Indian government has shifted its focus to Gmail and Skype, according to the AFP.


India is apparently taking issue with any communication service that doesn't give it easy access to data. It has a problem with Google-owned Gmail's heavy encryption and with the inability to listen in on conversations over VoIP with Skype.

"If a company is providing telecom services in Indian, then all communications must be available to Indian security services," a government representative told AFP. "If Google or Skype have a component that is not accessible, that will not be possible."

As of this writing, India had not sent notices to comply with its tight data-availability regulations, but the AFP reports that Google and Skype may receive notices as early as Tuesday. The notes will likely require that both companies provide the Indian government with a way to access e-mails in Gmail and conversations in Skype.

The Indian government made waves recently by targeting Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices over data accessibility. The government contends that by safeguarding e-mail, instant messaging, and Web browsing, RIM is preventing India from monitoring communications as part of national security.

Last week, RIM stood firm in opposition to India, indicating that it wouldn't submit to the government's September 1 deadline. India has now given RIM two months to furnish access to its data or face a ban of its service.