Close on the heels of the recent directive to telecom operators to provide for lawful interception of Blackberry and other encrypted messaging services, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now asked Social Networking sites based outside India to fall in line.
“Sites such as Orkut and Facebook allow for heavily encrypted exchanges of information”, a highly placed source at the MHA told Tech2.com. MHA officials are believed to be especially worried about the phenomenon of “scraps” and “pokes” respectively on these two sites.
“Imagine if applications such as SuperPoke fell into the hands of anti-national and anti-social (no pun intended) elements”, remarked a senior MHA official who did not wish to be named. “The consequences could be disastrous, especially considering the lack of sufficient monitoring of Indian users’ walls,” he warned.
Spokespersons for both Google, which owns Orkut.com and Facebook declined to comment till they received any directives in writing. However along with Yahoo, AOL and MSN, both companies were adamant that “the privacy of our users is of the greatest importance to us” though special considerations were being made for “countries in which the growth potential of the market outweighed the prospect of challenging draconian security laws”.