India moves to block VoIP

It is often said that we take our freedoms for granted in parts of the Western World, but Voice over Internet Protocol is becoming a good example of why you should not.
In free market economies the chance to make free or low cost calls over the internet, while not always welcomed, is at least accepted. However in some countries including Lebanon, the competition that VoIP gives mobile network providers is not tolerated.
The Indian government has all but blocked VoIP in their country after demanding that VoIP providers give readable transcriptions of all the conversations that take place over their networks. It is hard to imagine that companies like Skype will acquiesce to such a request.


According to the Hindu Times an internal Government said that The Department of Telecom (DoT) "will call the representatives of Blackberry Research In Motion and Skype and ask them to make sure that the content going through their telecom service providers is in a readable format. If this does not happen within 15 days, services that do not allow lawful interception on a real-time basis will be blocked/banned.”

These measures may also apply to Google communications, but this has not yet been confirmed. This is not the first time that the Indian government has impeded the progress of VoIP in their country. Currently only International Long Distance (ILD) and IP to IP calls are permitted in India.

The Indian government does however have a commitment to increased security in light of recent terrorist attacks. It was proved that criminals in Mumbai have been relying on VoIP to plan their operations.

The balance between freedom and security is always a fine one. But surely there must be a way to work with what is one of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century.

2 Response to "India moves to block VoIP"

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