The United Nations joins in the Blackberry vs governments argument

The secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has stepped into the lawful interception debate, saying that companies are just going to have to provide governments with access to their customers’ conversations.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Hamadoun Toure said that governments have the right to demand access to communications, and that companies will just have to find a way in which to provide it.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise as ITU is part of the UN and actually represents the interests of the 192 member governments rather than the telecommunications industry.

Communications over Skype and BlackBerry connections are automatically encrypted and are therefore not easily interceptable by governements as email and telephone calls are.

Some of the telecoms industry isn’t opposed to lawful interception, especially if the government pays for it (as in the UK), but Skype and RIM who make the Blackberry have designed their security infrastructures in a way that makes it very difficult to allow interception.

India is the latest country to demand access, having recently requested that both Skype and Google install in-country servers, as Nokia has already agreed to do.

Associated Press