BlackBerry Issue: RIM offers technical solution


The India government has given RIM and service providers a deadline of
 August 31, 2010 to comply with its security requirements over BlackBerry email and messaging services. Authorities sent formal notices to the mobile operators informing that they must have the right equipment to monitor Blackberry services before 1 September 2010. Mobile operators including Tata Teleservices confirmed the receipt of letter from the Department of Telecommunications to ensure proper interception mechanism.   

RIM technical team started discussions with India's telecommunications ministry and intelligence agencies to come up with a technical solution to avoid the ban on some of BlackBerry's services. The makers of the BlackBerry smartphone reportedly agreed to provide a monitoring method which would allow emails and chats shared between two BlackBerry devices to be intercepted and read by security agencies. RIM has already assured a manual access to its instant messages by September 1 and automated access by year end.

On behalf of The Mumbai attacks, it became clear that terrorists used high technology for their operations; the security agencies demanded RIM to provide a security system for the service in India. But RIM refused to provide access to its services saying that it has not provided anything unique to the government of any country and cannot accommodate any request for monitoring its services. The messages sent between two BlackBerry devices follows a code format (encrypted form) which prevents intelligence agencies from monitoring the contents transmitted across the networks.

India is one of the fastest growing telecommunication markets, with10 lacks Blackberry subscribers. So RIM will not be able to ignore Indian market. On the other hand Businesspeople and diplomats in India prefer BlackBerry for sending secure e-mails and text messages. RIM faced the same security concerns from other countries and it has lost more than 11 percent of its market capitalization since August, as Saudi Arabia and the UAE said they would also consider a ban on its Services.

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