BSNL Chief: Skype and other Video calling services are illegal in India

Following the Government’s decision to include Net telephony under the unified licence regime, the central government will re-examine the legality of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) features offered by Microsoft’s Skype and Google. [source]

The Government is of the view that alike telcos and Internet service providers, global players such as Skype and Google have to share the revenue generated with government via net telephony or video calling.

Meanwhile, answering a query over free video conferencing facility provided by companies like Skype and Google, BSNL Chief General Manager V Srinivasan, said the video calling services being offered by companies such as Skype were illegal and unlawful.

With the launch of Video Telephony in all zones (east, west, south and north), BSNL aims to tap the emerging telephony opportunities like instant face-to-face meetings, sales reviews, training sessions.To avail video calling facility, users will have to pay Rs 2.5 for a 60 second call, however they can also enjoy unlimited calling facility for this service under 30-day plan costing Rs 2,200.

Earlier in the beginning of 2012, BSNL along with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provider Sai Infosystem has launched voice and video telephony over Internet Protocol to its customers.

In March 2012, Indian government had proposed a legal provision that puts the onus uniformly on companies such as Skype and Google to locate part of their information technology (IT) infrastructure within the country to enable investigative agencies ready access to encrypted data on their servers.

Earlier, the government had instructed these companies to host data of Indian citizen, government organizations on Indian servers (and not move them out of the country), as part of privacy measure.

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