The New York Times yesterday filed a report on India’s efforts to force communications companies that rely on encrypted or hard-to-track communications systems, like Blackberry and Skype, to make their technology accessible or risk being banned from the country. This new step is unsurprising given talk in the UAE last month of forcing compliance with surveillance efforts and the disclosure yesterday of plans in this country to require companies to be able to provide clear text of encrypted communications if so ordered by a court.
It is interesting that for all of concerns put forth in the article of potential consequences of this new rule for India — such as fear of increased government reach, concerns about inadequate privacy protections, and lack of capacity to actually deal with this information flow — the author focuses on the impact increased pressure on communications companies could have for India’s business interests:

The most inflammatory part of the effort has been India’s threat to block encrypted BlackBerry services, widely used by corporations, unless phone companies provide access to the data in a readable format. But Indian officials have also said they will seek greater access to encrypted data sent over popular Internet services like Gmail, Skype and virtual private networks that enable users to bypass traditional telephone links or log in remotely to corporate computer systems.
Critics say such a threat could make foreigners think twice about doing business here. Especially vulnerable could be outsourcing for Western clients, like processing medical records or handling confidential research projects, information that is typically transmitted as encrypted data.
“If there is any risk to that data, those companies will look elsewhere,” said Peter Sutherland, a former Canadian ambassador to India who is now a consultant to North American companies doing business there.
S. Ramadorai, vice chairman of India’s largest outsourcing company, Tata Consultancy Services, echoed that sentiment in a newspaper column on Wednesday. “Bans and calls for bans aren’t a solution,” he wrote. “They’ll disconnect India from the rest of the world.”

India certainly does not want to scare away businesses who rely on encrypted communications in a globally competitive marketplace. Yet what is more worrisome about this entire effort is that it represents another example of governments pursuing more and more information without trying to analyze and where necessary reform how that data is actually used.
While it is attractive (and understandable) for governments concerned with their security situation to want to be able to access different means of communication, the allure of more access to data could allow countries like India to acquire more and more information, making it harder to find what they need to break up plots and prevent attacks. This is in part what has happened in the United States, where we have created a massive intelligence bureaucracy devoted in part to taking in as much information as possible, while sometimes not taking steps to process the information more intelligently or effectively.
In the rush acquire data and improve security, governments must continue to evaluate not just what they need but also how they evaluate what they already have, in order to ensure that new efforts to improve security don’t just make an already dangerous situation worse.
— Andrew Lebovich


28 comments on “D

  1. Don Bacon says:

    It’s all the fault of that monk that first mis-translated the bible. God said celebrate and the monk wrote celibate.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Roussel also had an audience with Pope Pius XI who showed a keen interest in photos of the vehicle………..”
    However, the Pope didn’t purchase one because it didn’t have a nursery to house any children.


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “My Renault….yadayadayada…..”
    Damn. And here all this time I thought you had some common sense…….


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “One nice thing about kangaroos is that they come in different sizes, small to large: Wallaby, Wallaroo and Kangaroo”
    Lucky for Kotz. Occassionally his back goes out, and he can’t bend over.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We’ve outsourced a lot of other services to India, why not snooping.(?)”
    Because Israel aready has that contract.
    (Yes, its a sarcastic comment, Unfortunately, it also happens to be true.)


  6. Don Bacon says:

    I’m sorry, Paul, I’ve got you in Australia and so there you are, with kangaroos. I hate arguments. Nobody’s awake at 3-4am.


  7. JohnH says:

    It looks just like I imagine Kotz! (except for the smile.)


  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, as a matter of fact, Don, I’ve never seen a kangaroo in my
    life. Sleeping in a cold row boat in a Norwegian fjord
    (metaphorically speaking). 4AM right now. Hoping to visit
    Ethiopia in November/December, watching hornbills and pelicans
    and talking to people.


  9. Don Bacon says:

    One nice thing about kangaroos is that they come in different sizes, small to large: Wallaby, Wallaroo and Kangaroo.
    Sleeping in a swag?


  10. Don Bacon says:

    I pried it out of you. I love Oz — spent most of a week on Kangaroo Island last year and then up to Darwin and Cairns. I’m sure you’re enjoying it.


  11. JohnH says:

    My Renault had reclining seats that you could join right up to the back seat to make a bed. I slept a few nights in it, but never invested in the few pillows needed to make it flat and comfortable. I finally got rid of it because it was mostly kept in the garage (the mechanic’s).
    Just as well. Today the presence of a foggy car window in the middle of the night would generate a terrorist alert and a visit from bored local SWAT team, eager for some excitement.
    Apart from that, I wonder, given Norway’s birth rate, how long will it be before we don’t have to put up with Norwegians’ trivia anymore?


  12. Paul Norheim says:

    How do you know for sure that I’m not kangaroo spotting at
    Echidna Savannah, Don? Two minutes ago I swear I got a glimpse
    of Kotz and his dictionary from the back seat of my rented


  13. Don Bacon says:

    The first motor home and Paul’s kind enough to stay up until 3am to show it to us.


  14. Paul Norheim says:

    Why the back seat, Don & Don & John, when you can sleep in a
    “Roulette”? This mobile home was the invention of the
    incredibly rich and incredibly eccentric French avantgarde
    writer Raymond Roussel (1877-1933):
    “Roussel was an incessant traveller, sometimes following in the
    footsteps of his idol Pierre Loti, but he wearied of the constant
    bother of it all. Yes, like Pam Ann he didn


  15. Don Bacon says:

    birth rate
    (births/1000 persons)
    CIA Factbook
    Afghanistan 45.46
    World 19.95
    United States 13.82
    Norway 10.99


  16. DonS says:

    I think, seriously, we have to keep the lid on anything — and I include you so called ‘exhibit’ at the Smithy — that would give a clue to Indian funding. We do recognize the fluidity of the monetary environment, who owns old Uncle’s debt, etc., but you cannot sell a sellout, or outsourcing, or whatever it’s called, that in any way reveals the US going down the tubes. But maybe it could be like a cultural exchange: you do my old time good feelings; I do your depraved poverty. That sort of thing.
    As to the back seat thing, no comment. Except that it’s about time for Paul to defend the absolute incredible women of Norway. Case closed.


  17. Don Bacon says:

    Okay, I got some funding from India. They’ll spring for a Middle Class exhibit at the Smithsonian, you know, with old photos and dioramas of families with jobs, cars and houses — stuff like that. You remember.
    Personally I’m not going to try the back seat. My pickup doesn’t have one — but the back has a cap on it and it’s real comfy for me and my sweety. We used to use an air mattress but that was like work so now I go with a couple of backpack pads. Except when we go to Mexico in the winter I take my 74 VW poptop, which is first class, but too slow for the US of A.
    The rich don’t know what they’re missing, which is fine with me. I do sorta feel sorry for them, a little, but I don’t have to deal with them so it’s fine.


  18. JohnH says:

    Motel 6? That shows your bourgeois tendencies! Try the back seat! You only have to pay for your night’s sleep if the gubbamint catches you.


  19. Don Bacon says:

    Middle class? We don’t need anybody on the fence. Either get on side or the other. You’re either Hyatt Regency ($450 a night) or Motel 6 ($59.95). This thing won’t work with lane-splitters.


  20. DonS says:

    Hey. What a coincidence. The guy at the door. Well, unbelievably he was a rep from some very important national birding association and was just in the neighborhood looking for like minded birders. Anyway, we agreed to keep in touch.


  21. Don Bacon says:

    This gubmint outsourcing gig to be done right has to be done in stages.
    First we need a new constitution that fits the corporate model, and I just happen to have one called a New Charter for a New America. It starts off like this:
    We, the stockholders of the United Corporations, in order to form a more perfect corporation, maximize profit for the preferred, insure tranquility, provide for the corporate Empire, and secure monetary blessings for the elite, do hereby ordain and establish this corporate charter for the United Corporations of America, Incorporated (‘America, Inc.’).
    Section 1. All legislative powers shall be vested in the preferred stockholders of the Corporation, acting through a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
    Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members selected every second year in the several states through a corporate-controlled process called an ‘election.’
    Actually, in practice it’s not much of a change and simply formalizes existing practices. It would simplify the whole business (literally) of outsourcing gubmint functions, and we could save up to seventy percent!


  22. DonS says:

    That explains a lot.
    Not so sure about the super-spamming approach to decreasing the increasing rate of spying on your neighbor mania (remember duct tape!), since I’m not too tech saavy. But I do enjoy peeping at a warbler or two through my mid range binos. Sign me up! Er, I guess I’m already signed up.
    Anyway, I do think this outsourcing gambit has great possibilities. Especially the political-Congressional aspect, since it would leave more time for Congresscritters to be back in their home district campaigning instead of being preoccupied with entertaining the latest hookers in DC. Details would have to be worked out of course; like some doppelganger Reps in the “outsourced” legislature. But with Indian innovation, perhaps simply a virtual government could be developed.
    And excuse me as well; gotta answer the door.


  23. Don Bacon says:

    Well since most US business moved to India then we should be concerned.
    For any company that hasn’t yet moved:
    India Outsourcing Gurus
    Move Operations Offshore & Save Up To 70%.
    Call Us For A Free Consult.


  24. JohnH says:

    Hold on guys! You’re dealing with a sacred American principal–the American government is entitled to snoop on anyone and everyone using Blackberries. But foreign countries are not allowed to snoop on people, even with a court order in their own country, because it might be bad for Blackberry’s business!
    What don’t you guys get about the sanctity of equal treatment under the law?


  25. Don Bacon says:

    We’ve outsourced a lot of other services to India, why not snooping. Hell, let’s outsource the whole gubmint and be done with it. It wouldn’t be any less understandable.
    The only recourse we have is to overload the system. Like I enjoy birdwatching, so not long ago I was in the suburban outskirts of a city in Arizona, pulled to the side of the road and was looking with my binoculars at birds in a tree when a police cruiser pulled up and the officer asked me what I was doing. I told him. He didn’t look too pleased and left. I noticed a house a couple hundred meters away and some snoop must have called the cops on me because I looked suspicious, looking at birds in a tree with binoculars. So if half the population walked around with binocs looking at trees the whole terrorist response system would break down.
    Now I told you that to tell you this. If a lot of us got one of these spammers that send out a thousand emails a minute, and we filled those emails with catchy words like bomb and airplane, then we could overload their friggin system and they’d have to scrap it.
    That’s all I’ve got to say for now — somebody’s knocking on my door.


  26. DonS says:

    Don Bacon, you ignore certain important features of the Administration’s push for more access:
    1) We are being assured that since access would only be sought subject to valid warrants, we needn’t worry about invasion of privacy issues. This, as in the past, will provide an ironclad guarantee that civil liberties will not be unduly infringed upon.
    2) The US, having learned such hard lessons in the past, would never find itself in a position of having too much raw data and not enough analysis capability or not enough humint.
    And, ooops!
    Hey, what say we export the whole operation to India. No nasty Constitutional issues then.


  27. Don Bacon says:

    Well, what can you expect from India, it isn’t free like America. I bet they hate us for our freedom, even.
    U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet
    Published: September 27, 2010


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *