Saturday, July 31, 2010

India - Govt is objecting on security grounds to Blackberry e-mail services

[the hindu] Research In Motion, the manufacturers of the BlackBerry phones, has approached the Government seeking a meeting to address security concerns linked to the device.

In a letter to the Department of Telecom, the Canada-based smart phone maker said, “We would like to make an urgent meeting with you in order to explain and clarify the standard manner in which data travels or is transmitted when a Blackberry device is used by a consumer. In simple terms it is no different from how standard data packets currently travel over the network.”

Security agencies had raised concerns about Blackberry devices, Skype services and Gmail because data being transmitted through these networks are highly encrypted. This does not allow the security agencies to snoop into these networks.

The security agencies had asked the Department of Telecom to ask these companies to either ensure that data going through their networks be made available to security agencies in a readable format or face a ban from offering services in India.

But so far, DoT has not directly approached any of these companies. It had earlier asked the Cellular Operators'Association of India (COAI) to get RIM for a meeting.

But when COAI approached RIM, the latter took a view that it will go for a meeting only after getting a direct invitation from DoT.

The basic problem is that the data services being offered by RIM are highly encrypted because of which Indian security agencies are finding it difficult to keep a watch over the content being transmitted through the device.

Similar concerns were raised against Blackberry devices two years ago but the issue was put on the backburner.

BlackBerry makers seek meeting with DoT

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