Tuesday, December 3, 2013

India seeks help from the US to monitor Web chats

India’s government plans on using the U.S. to help decrypt data sent via messaging services to aid in cyber-crime investigations.


 The U.S. is the leader in monitoring phone calls, web chats, and everything else that can be under surveillance.  India is requesting the United States’ help in unraveling messages from online chat services to gain an upper hand in cybercrime for their investigations.

It is noted the Indo-US Police Chiefs conference will take place on Wednesdays at India’s Union Home Ministry.  The conference will focus on online messaging services like Viber, Whatsapp, Slype, and Webchat, which challenges security agencies to intercept and monitor conversations.

India is requesting the U.S. share its knowledge and information on the technology used to do so.

The Asian economic giant has been pressuring  chat services to share their decryption keys, but have not seen any changes.

“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 India ministry said in its note. “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 U.S. agencies may be an area of co-operation.”

In November 2008, there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai.  The Indian government said the terrorist were able to organize the attacks throught mobile phones and  Internet messages.


BlackBerry has set up a server in India to assist the government’s demand for tracking communications.  The device tracks messages sent to and from all BlackBerry devices.

The Indian Union Home Ministry expressed great displeasure to the U.S.  because of service providers like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter, have not agreed to the request for information of e-mail contents to aid in the investigations.

According to The Economic Times, India’s Intelligence Bureau Chief Asif Ibrahim called for the establishment of an “Indo-American Alert, Watch and Warn” network to help ease  cybercrime investigations between law enforcement agencies and other corporations.

Service providers currently take between 15 to 80 days to respond to India’s request for Internet log data.  There’s no guarantee that the information required to fight cybercrime will be provided at all.

For India’s Nation Investigation Agency (NIA): cooperation from companies would mean accessing, monitoring, and call interception data from all organizations.  For India’s people: privacy fears, self-censorship, and  paranoia will consume their thoughts while their personal conversations are being collected.

What do you think about surveillance programs tapping into internet traffic to counteract terrorist attacks?  Is it invading our privacy or protecting our people?

Leave your comments below!

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Analysis: NSA’s data grab ought to boost privacy concerns – USA Today
October 30, 2013
India agency petitions for monitoring system – ZDNet
October 15, 2013
India to seek US help in monitoring Web chats – ZDNet
December 3, 2013

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