If they weren’t already doing so, Google’s lawyers should start paying attention to the BlackBerry encryption proceedings. It turns out that India’s government intends to target Google (and Skype) once it’s finished trying to gain access to messages sent courtesy of RIM.
Joe Leahy and David Gelles somehow got their hands on the minutes of a meeting between the security wing of India’s Department of Telecommunications and a few operator organizations. The news isn’t encouraging.
"There was consensus that there [is] more than one type of service for which solutions are to be explored," according to the minutes. "Some of them are BlackBerry, Skype, Google etc. It was decided first to undertake the issue of BlackBerry and then the other services."
So it looks like Google might once again have to try balancing a government’s demands against its users’ privacy and free speech rights, and we’ve seen how ugly that can get for the search giant. Human rights organizations and politicians could push the company hard to keep everything private.
At the same time, in the Indian government’s defense, it’s not trying to suppress dissent in the same manner China does, but instead fight terrorism.
We should give things a chance to play out between RIM and India first, though. If RIM’s able to stand up to the Indian government, or at least tie up the matter in courts for a few years, Google’s lawyers won’t need to formulate their approach for a while.