Some would say it’s not every day that a government gives a
mobile phone service provider an ultimatum to either give in or give up, but
and government snooping have become more common than in past decades.
Recently, the Indian government demanded that telecom providers allow
government authorities to monitor traffic flowing through their networks for
terrorist activities. According to a Business Standard post, the Indian government
asked a number of telecommunications companies to open up their networks to
monitor Blackberry-based traffic or face
shutdown throughout the country within 15 days.
Indian government authorities proposed that each service provider work out the
details with Blackberry licensor Research in Motion before this 15-day period.
DailyTech contacted RIM's media relations and received the following
statement, "RIM operates in more than 130 countries around the world and
respects the regulatory requirements of governments. RIM does not comment on
confidential regulatory matters or speculation on such matters in any given
If RIM and service providers offering Blackberry services comply with the
government's demands, it will mean roughly 400,000 Blackberry users will be
left without service such as email and messaging. According to India's Minister
of Communications and Information Technology, the security of the nation of
India is their top priority even if it means that telecom companies will be
shut down if they do not let government authorities in and monitor traffic
India is not the first government to demand the ability to monitor telecom
traffic. Recently, U.S. government agencies, such as the NSA, have been the
center for discussion and legal battles regarding wiretapping.
The U.S. Senate has also gone so far as to pass a bill that would give telecoms
that cooperate with U.S. agencies in warrant-less wiretapping and other illegal
monitoring activities immunity from lawsuits.
Since India has a different legal process than the United States, the Ministry
of Communications and Information Technology may have a better chance of
getting its way with Indian telecoms and consumers.