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  • BlackBerry optimistic of resolving security issue

    Published on August 14, 2010

    Government on Thursday set a 31st August deadline for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and telecom operators to address its security concerns failing which some of the mobile phone’s popular services would be shut down.

    BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) on Friday said it was optimistic of resolving with the Government the issue of lawful interception of its services even as the Canadian smartphone vendor made it clear that only legal monitoring of its data would be allowed.

    Faced with the 31st August deadline to address the country’s security concerns, a three-member delegation of (RIM) led by Vice-President Robert E Crowe met Home Secretary G K Pillai to discuss government’s notice.

    Government has set the 31st August deadline for the Canada-based RIM and telecom operators to address its security concerns warning that failure to do so would result in some of the mobile phone’s popular services being shut down in the country.

    Government wants RIM to make available lawful interception of BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) and BlackBerry Messenger Services (BBM) to Indian security agencies.

    “I am optimistic,” Crowe told reporters after a half-an- hour meeting with Pillai.

    In a letter to to the Department of Telecom (DoT) Secretary P J Thomas, Pillai has asked him to convey to the operators and RIM that a technical solution to make available lawful interception of BES and BBM must be found out by the stated deadline.

    There are an estimated one million BlackBerry subscribers in the country.

    In Toronto, RIM in a statement on Thursday said it would allow Indian security agencies only to do legal monitoring of data of its subscribers, although India has asked the smartphone vendor to provide access to e-mail and messenger data.

    “The only time it allows carriers to access the data sent via BlackBerry devices is in the case of national security situations, and even then, only as governed by the country’s judicial oversight and rules of law,” it said.

    Last week, BlackBerry had made a fresh attempt to break the logjam over its services in India by offering “metadata” and relevant information to security agencies which would enable them to lawfully intercept communication on such phones but it failed to enthuse them.

    RIM representatives explained that BlackBerry mobile device sends encrypted emails, which is sent to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) located with the service provider.

    BES decrypts messages and sends it to the email server of the service provider where it remains stored in decrypted form. Then it is pushed to the BlackBerry device in encrypted form.

    The UAE had recently banned Blackberry services.

    RIM said that it maintains a “consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries”.

    “Although RIM cannot disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government, RIM assures its customers that it genuinely tries to be as cooperative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations,” it said.

    India wants access in a readable format to encrypted BlackBerry communication, on the ground that it could be used by militants.


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