Indian govt plans to snoop Gmail

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New Delhi, Dec 22: After the government flexed its muscles with Blackberry over information sharing and data access, the Union Ministry is all set to do the same with Gmail.

Google Inc has confirmed that the ministry is pressurising them to share gmail's encryption keys. The Union Home Secretary GK Pillai has been quoted as saying, "Yes, the Union Home Ministry is in talks with Google. In case of emergencies like terrorism, we need to have a mechanism to read suspect emails."

Officials based in India admitted any government directive on this regard. Google India's head of products, Vinay Goel, said, "We have not received any communication from the government. We are keen on securing user privacy."

It has to be noted that the Google complied with govt requests on specific cases. The IT act amended in 2008 gives the govt more teeth to monitor, intercept and block Internet communication in the interests of national security, protecting friendly relations with foreign countries, and in the face of perceived threats to public order.

Though there exists a law for the govt to meddle with connections, no law exists with regards to privacy, in spite of the fact that the Right to Privacy as stated in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, is a fundamental right to life. To implement such orders falls under the purview of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Delhi.

On the concerns raised by privacy violation, Pillai said, "There has to be a mechanism for emergencies. Out of the several million email IDs, we may have to read only a few hundreds, which are suspect. I feel that is okay. In any case, that is the trend all over the world. Besides, it is allowed by the law."

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