The Intelligence Bureau has raised security concerns against Chinese messaging platform We-Chat, which launched its India operations recently.

The intelligence agency has told the National Security Advisor that such messaging platforms were raising new cyber threats.

Top Government source said that the matter will be investigated by the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Department of Telecom before taking a call on whether or not to block access to such services.

Like WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger, WeChat is also a messaging platform that uses the Internet to allow users to exchange text or voice messages. The security agencies had earlier raised concerns over BlackBerry Messenger, which has since been resolved after the Canadian company agreed to set up a server in Mumbai.

The security agencies have been given access to data flowing through the BlackBerry Messenger platform.

But in the case of WeChat, the security agencies are more worried because it is a Chinese company. Earlier the Department of Telecom had come close to banning Chinese telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE over similar concerns.

Security agencies are worried that Chinese establishment could be using the services and equipment offered by these companies to snoop into India’s communication networks. While the Chinese companies have denied any links with the Chinese army or spy agencies, the recent expose about US Government using platforms owned by Internet companies Google and Facebook to source user data, has increased suspicions.

“We take user data protection seriously in our product development and daily operations, but at the same time, like other responsible international companies operating in India, we comply with all relevant local laws and regulations,” according to Official Company Spokesperson, Tencent, the company behind the WeChat App.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 13, 2013)
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