India wants overseas e-mail routed through local servers

Government to get Web-based e-mail providers such as Yahoo and Google to route all e-mail messages from both local and overseas accounts using local servers for easier access, says report.

Web mail providers could be asked to route all e-mail messages accessed in India through servers in the country, even if the account was registered overseas.

The Times of India reported on Tuesday that the new directive was due to security agencies not being able to have real-time access to e-mail messages opened in the country as the accounts were registered overseas. The issue came to light when security agencies in India failed to access accounts of suspected members of terrorist group Indian Mujahideen during a surveillance period. The e-mail provider told the agencies that they need to request permission from the European nation where the server of the e-mail accounts were based to access the messages, it added.

Citing minutes from a recent "high-level meeting", it noted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team's (CERT-in) director general said Yahoo already stores all correspondence of accounts registered in India in servers sited in the country. However, e-mail from accounts registered outside of India but accessed in the country are still routed through overseas servers, according to the minutes.

"It was decided to advice Yahoo, Gmail, etc that all e-mail messages accessed from India should be routed through servers in India," said the minutes.

The Department of Information Technology (DIT) was asked to approach the service providers on the topic as soon as possible, the report added.

It's not just Web mail service providers that are being targeted by the government to set up servers within the country. On Tuesday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) finally relented to the India government's requests to set up a server in India.