India will ask US to share the technology it uses to decrypt conversations that happen over chat services such as WhatsApp, Skype among others if the companies don’t do so themselves, as per an agenda note circulated by the Union Home Ministry ahead of the Indo-US Police Chiefs conference on December 4-5, reports Economic Times. The report says that Intelligence Bureau suspects anti-social elements and terrorists of using such chatting services to draw up plans and conspiracies.
India will also complain to US that services providers like Hotmail, Google, Facebook and Twitter have “never even in a single case” provided profile or e-mail contents requested by India for investigations and have refused to remove hate speech contents from the social networking websites. This is strange considering Google listed India second in its transparency report when it came to user data requests, with 2,691 data requests from the government. The hate speech angle is interesting as it was part of a recent report by Cobra Post during which it found several agencies in India that were willing to malign companies and individuals for a fee. One of the companies that agreed to this had said that they use WhatsApp and Facebook to spread defamatory information.
The report also states that Intelligence Bureau Chief Asif Ibrahim recently made a case for US service providers to be brought under the ambit of Indian law and proposed the creation of an ‘Indo-American Alert, Watch and Warn network’. Such a network will help law enforcement agencies of both countries rapidly co-operate in cyber crime investigations. As of now, the service providers take 15-80 days to respond to Indian requests even for simple internet logs.
It needs to be pointed out that the Indian government began rolling out the Central Monitoring System (CMS) which is essentially India’s version of PRISM enabling government agencies to monitor and analyse all telecommunications and internet communications including telephone calls, email, text messages, MMS, fax communications on landlines, CDMA, video calls, GSM and 3G networks in the country in April 2013. The Indian Government came to an agreement with BlackBerry after a long legal wrangling to set up an interception system for BlackBerry service in India earlier this year.
Department of Telecom (DoT) documents had then apparently stated that nine of the 10 telcos providing BlackBerry services were in the process of deploying interception solution. The Government was also in the process of acquiring interception facility developed and installed by BB in Mumbai in April 2012. BB had also agreed to train five government officials at its Ontario facility to handle the technical architecture, operation and maintenance of the monitoring facility.