The Government of India has raised concerns about a cross-platform application and service, Tiger Text, that allows setting lifespan of a text message. That means the sender can get a message deleted from recipient’s mobile.
Home Ministry has warned the Department of Telecom to make it mandatory for all cellular operators for procuring clearance from the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) if the service is deployed by any of them.
Brent Bamberger, head of marketing for Tiger Text said, “TigerText is surprised by the comments by the Indian government as it has consumers using its application in 119 countries with no issues whatsoever.”
Tiger Text is a cross-platform messaging app that allows a sender to set a life span of the message (text, image or video). So the sender has the control of wiping off the message from the recipient’s handset but a copy of to the same message lies on the Telecom operator’s server of unlimited amount of time.
Just like number of other cross-platform messengers, Tiger Text utilises phone’s data connection for messaging. That has alarmed the India Home Ministry assuming the application’s potential usage by the terrorists.
A telecom department official familiar with the matter said, “Use of the (Tiger Text) application by Indian telecom service providers can create operational problems for national security agencies. The telecoms department should ask all telcos to proper lawful interception arrangements and secure approvals from the security agencies before availing of the service from Tiger Text.”
Apparently the Home Ministry believes that the Tiger Text’s function of destroying the text and video messages may hinder the operations of the law enforcement agencies. Security concerns have become a high priority for the Indian Home Ministry and we have seen government’s recent squabble with the Canadian cellphone maker – Research In Motion. The issue between RIM and government still remains unsolved.
As of now, Tiger Text doesn’t seem to have heard from DoT officially but is ready to co-operate at any level. Bamberger said,”TigerText welcome the opportunity to talk with the Indian security agencies or telecommunications companies to help them understand the product as the company does not want Indian consumers to suffer from not being allowed to receive the benefits of its service.”
Home Ministry’s concern about country’s security is quite understandable. However, a specific approach or set of pre-defined guidelines might ease off any hiccups in the process.