Skype, Viber and other such Internet voice calling services may soon have to set up servers in India to continue operating in the country. The Economic Times reports that the Centre will require VoIP service providers to be registered in India, with an office and server located in the country so that the company falls under the purview of Indian laws.
The decision was arrived at a meeting at the Home Ministry. Said meeting was attended by representatives from security agencies, the Intelligence Bureau, police forces and senior officials from the Telecom and IT Ministry. “Any service provider, who provides communication services in India via any media through voice-over-internet protocol ( VoIP), should be mandated to be registered in India, having its office, server located in the country and, therefore, subject to Indian laws. Necessary provisions to this effect may be incorporated through amendment in Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Information Technology Act, 2000,” the minutes of the meeting reads.
Set up servers to be able to offer services in country (Image Credits: Getty Images)
The Telecom and IT Ministry said the move is meant to enable the government to access VoIP services. The Economic Times reports that the ministry said intercepting Internet telephony communications or even blocking them in specific states and regions was impossible due to the “unregulated Internet architecture in India and highly decentralised encrypted structure of Skype.”
It was also decided during the meeting that ISPs and telecommunication companies would need to “segregate Internet protocol (IP) addresses on a state-wide basis.” Once this happens, the government will be able to control access to websites, including social networks and VoIP services, in select states or regions in the country as each region will be grouped under a specific IP address range.
Segregating IP addresses on a regional basis is meant to “facilitate home secretaries to allow lawful interception in areas under their jurisdiction under the Indian Telegraph Act and Information Technology Act.”
It was also decided that ISPs and telcos must place a nodal officer in each state with access to a Gateway GPRS Support node gateway. This officer would reportedly mandate access to parts of the network “that are responsible for the delivery of data packets from and to the mobile stations within a geographical service area.”