VoIP service providers should set local servers in India: Indian Govt

In a meeting held on 23 April at home ministry, by representatives of Intelligence Bureau, security agencies, top police forces and senior officials from telecom and IT departments, two major decisions were taken.

First decision was to make all global firms offering VoIP services in India such as Skype, to set up servers in India, in order to continue offering their facility in the country. In Another decision all ISP’s and mobile phone companies in India as asked to segregate IP addresses on a state-wide basis.

These decisions were taken in order to track the newer forms of communications  and to provide home ministry an access to block websites or internet telephone service on selected states and regions. however, according to telecom officials, this solution might not be possible to implement due to unregulated and decentralized internet architecture in India.

During the meeting it was also decided that all ISP’s and Telecom companies should appoint a nodal officer in state with access to GGSN gateway. The gateway GPRS support node (GGSN) is a main component of the GPRS network and  is responsible for the internetworking between the GPRS network and the Internet.

Apart from skype, the other internet telephony services in India such as HIKE, Viber, Rocketalk, Nimbuzz  and WeChat will also be facing issues in setting their servers in India.  HIKE and Rocketalk are  already having their servers in India. At present, the skype server is located in Denmark, VIber in US, WeChat in Fujian and Nimbuzz in Netherlands.

Government often claims about security threats in internet and have taken many steps in order to so called ‘secure’ it. For example, a few months back, government has put in measures to scan social media sites such as facebook, twitter and have also added tools to monitor email, blogs, media reports and Internet traffic. Also, SEBI is considering to regulate mobile chat apps like whatsapp among others to check risks posed by them. However, the main thing to focus is ‘are these solutions really reliable?’ or What is the problem government is fighting with, is it free speech?