In order to ensure privacy of domestic Internet and email users, Internet service providers (ISPs) want that the government should allow foreign search engines and social networking sites to offer services only if they set up their main servers in India.
US security agencies have access to emails, social networking details and other data of Indian subscribers of major US-based companies such as Google, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook, Skype and Microsoft.
“The main advantage of local service would be that whenever Indian intelligence wants data from the foreign companies, they would not be able to say that they are not governed by Indian laws,” said Rajesh Chharia, president of Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI).
The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), representing mainly GSM telecom service providers, has come out in support of US-based search engines and social networking sites. “All companies are required to function under the laws of their country... It would be futile to complain of the policies of other countries,” said Rajan Mathews, executive director of COAI. “Our government should make laws that are robust enough, clear and well crafted to protect the privacy of our citizens, so that companies operating here have no excuse for violating it.”