India to ban ‘illegal’ VOIP

In the time of progess, India gets ready to take a step forward … or is it back?

Citing security concerns, the Department of Telecom (DoT) now plans to bring messenger-based telephony services such as those offered by Skype, Yahoo, MSN, and Net2Phone, under the scanner.

However, from what I read this has nothing to do with security concerns. But, Indian ISPs have themselves urged the Government to ban these services or ask them to obtain appropriate licence.

And this has come only because VoIP providers don’t pay 12 percent service tax and six percent of their revenue share, as ISPs do.

Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) in a letter to DoT stated:

Internet telephony services can be offered in India either by an ISP specifically permitted to do so or by a unified access service licensee. However, several service providers such as Skype, Net2Phone, Yahoo, and MSN, are providing Internet telephony services to people in India. Most of these foreign service providers do offer termination in Indian fixed-line telephones as well.

I really wonder how they plan on implementing this. Will only VOIP calls be banned or will are inept providers just block all communication via messengers?
They made a mess while blocking “certain” blogspot domains. Then came the chaos over blocking Orkut because of a single community and now this.

We are indeed moving backwards in technology. It would be really sad to see our country closing up.

Via : Hindu and TechBuzz

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3 thoughts on “India to ban ‘illegal’ VOIP”

  1. Concerns over Internet telephony firms not new
    17 Jun, 2007 l 0209 hrs ISTlShalini Singh/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

    NEW DELHI: The sense of concern over companies that provide Internet telephony or VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) and are yet outside any regulation is not new nor are they limited to India. China, for instance, has forced such service providers wishing to operate in that country to adhere to Chinese laws.

    Can the same happen in a non-totalitarian regime like India? The Internet Service Providers’ Association of India (ISPAI), the latest to oppose the free telephony service providers, feels India too can do it. Said ISPAI president Rajesh Chharia. “It’s a matter of framing the right policies. The government needs to announce appropriate policy guidelines and licence these companies immediately.”

    ISPAI says the “indulgence” shown to these companies contrasts sharply with the anxiety shown over the approval of guidelines for 74% FDI in telecom, whose implementation was delayed over 18 months on grounds of national security and telecom monitoring compliance.

    ISPAI, in a strong representation to the government, has alleged that Google, Skype, Yahoo, Vonage, MSN and others are violating the law, destroying the competitive landscape and posing a serious risk to national security. It points out that legit service providers (ISPs or OSPs) are required to pay 12.36% service tax on web services and 6% revenue share on internet telephony —- levies that these firms escape.

    While ISPAI’s opposition seems to be fuelled by business considerations, security issues also haunt email and web-based services. As ISPs bear the onus of tracing back any illegal activity, they are often at the receiving end of security agencies because of wrongdoing committed on networks provided by these telephony companies.

    The growing opinion against these global firms can be seen in earlier incidents: Orkut was in the doghouse for comments posted by its hate communities, while the government had also threatened to block YouTube for broadcasting a video of a comedian dressed as Mahatma Gandhi doing a pole dance. But any real regulation of these social networking or video-sharing websites is yet to happen.

    Recently, questions were raised in Parliament on the operations of Vonage. This proved embarrassing for DoT as they had little or no information on the company, despite the fact that its services are freely available in the country.

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