HomeNewsAfter calls, govt now wants to snoop on chat services

After calls, govt now wants to snoop on chat services

Union Home Ministry's agenda note points at government's plan to seek help from US for setting up lawful interception with chat servicesWhatsApp, WeChat, Skype and BlackBerry Messenger.

The Government of India, which reportedly has an elaborate system to tap mobile phone calls, is now requesting USA to share technology that can be used to for real-time monitoring of mobile messaging services like Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype and BlackBerry Messenger.

According to a report of Economics Times, the Indian government is reportedly wants to keep a tab on the content that that is shared on messaging apps.

Economic Times has claimed to have come across a Union Home Ministry’s Agenda Note which elaborates India’s plans to tell US that the mobile chat service pose as security challenge and thus it should share its technologies with the Indian Security Agencies to help them intercept as well as monitor the sessions in real-time.
After calls, govt now wants to snoop on chat services
As per the agenda note, the Indian government had reportedly sent several requests to the above mentioned companies, who are offering messaging services, for providing access to encrypted conversations. But they have rejected the request thus prompting government to seek help from US government.

At the Indo-US Police Chiefs conference this week, India plans to seek help from US and request access to the technologies that allow interception and deciphering communications of the chat services.

Union Home Ministry’s Agenda Note stated, “The availability of their web servers in India is required for legal interception of communications in real time for timely action by security and intelligence agencies. The communication over these services is encrypted and the encryption-decryption technologies available with the service providers will be required by security agencies even if the facility for lawful interception of these communications is extended to security agencies in India. The technology in use by US agencies may be an area of co-operation.”

As of now, Indian Security Agencies do not have the latest tools and technologies to intercept the communications happening in real-time over the popular mobile messengers. Instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, Skype, and BlackBerry Messengers user encryption methods that make it difficult for users to snoop into an on-going conversation. However, Indian government claims that the US has technologies to intercept and decipher these encrypted chat sessions for real-time monitoring. This will help in identifying potential threats and prevent the anti-social elements from causing harm to the country.

India also plans proposing the formation of the Indo-US Alert, a watch and warn network of law enforcement agencies in both countries for co-operation in tracking down cyber crimes and related investigations. Currently, the Indian government experiences cold shoulder from the US based service providers to provide even simple internet session logs.

Last year, Department of Telecom was reported of testing BlackBerry’s Web Server to allow lawful interception by the security agencies.

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