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8/31/2010
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India Threatens Ban On Google, Skype

Search giant and VoIP pioneer join RIM on the list of tech companies facing sanctions on the subcontinent.

Having given RIM a 60-day reprieve from a ban on Blackberry messaging traffic, Indian authorities have now set their sites on Google and Skype.

As they did with RIM, authorities in the country are demanding access to data that flows across Google's and Skype's servers.

"The notices to these entities will be issued beginning Tuesday and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks," a senior government official said, according to The Times of India.

A new voice feature just added to Gmail is what put Google in the Indian government's crosshairs, the newspaper said.

Indian officials insist they need the ability to intercept mobile data in cases where they suspect the devices are being used to plot terror attacks or other crimes. The country has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks, including the 2008 assaults on the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels in Mumbai.

India originally threatened to ban Blackberry messaging traffic as of August 31st, but on Monday authorities said they had given RIM a 60-day extension in which to come up with a solution that satisfies their concerns.

RIM has insisted that encryption is in its users' hands and that it does not have technology that would allow third-parties, including national governments, to monitor BlackBerry traffic.

RIM has previously offered to give Indian officials the IP addresses of its BlackBerry Enterprise Servers and PIN and IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers of BlackBerry handsets. But the offer failed to placate Indian security officials.

The dispute echoes a similar set-to that's transpiring between RIM and some countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabian officials in Riyadh have threatened to cut off BlackBerry service in the kingdom unless RIM makes decryption technology available.

Also, UAE authorities have said they may impose a ban on BlackBerry e-mail and messaging starting Oct. 11.

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