While it has been talked over and over again for couple of years now, it seems that Indian Government is now ready to put its foot down on online providers who offer VOIP (Voice over IP) based services.
According to an article published by ET, the decision in this regards was taken in a meeting held by Home Ministry on April 23rd. The meeting involved members of Intelligence Bureau, who were of the opinion that setting up servers in India is the only way through which security agencies can track the communication happening over services like Skype and others.
[box type=”shadow” ]Another important decision that was taken during this meeting was that local ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and telecom operators in India will need to allocate and segregate IP addresses on a state to state basis.[/box]
The decision was taken because IT department & Telecom department were unable to track the VOIP communication and data packets on regional basis. Currently, the IP address allocation through-out India happens arbitrarily and it is impossible to shut down communication only in specific areas based in IP addresses.
Will / Can Skype & Mobile Companies Comply?
We asked the same question when global handset manufacturers like Blackberry and Nokia were asked to do the same.
While it was extremely difficult for them to setup servers in India, they could not do anything about it. They did setup their servers in India last year bowing to Government orders. Not complying meant that they could not do business in a lucrative market like India.
[box type=”shadow” ]Skype finds itself in similar situation now like Blackberry and Nokia. However, things may be slightly different with them. They are a software company rather than hardware one. Also, though India is a large market, the share of their revenue coming from India currently is quite miniscule. If they decide not to comply to the Government orders, and get shut down in India, it will not affect their bottom-line too much.[/box]
Also, people who want to use skype will use them no matter what – Users will find 100 different ways to circumvent the ban and keep using skype.
What needs to be seen is what local ISPs and operators will do.
Segregation of new IP addresses as per state may not be such a difficult task, but what about millions of IPs that have already been allocated. To change all of them with new geographically allotted ones will be extremely tough task for them as well as their users.
However, difficult that it may be, for them, they have no choice but to comply with it if they want to remain in business!
What do you think about these government orders?