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DoT pulled up for extending deadlines for BlackBerry maker RIM

The department has been pulled up by a parliamentary panel over extensions given to Research in Motion in providing messages to security agencies in a readable format.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been pulled up by a parliamentary panel over extensions being given to Canada-based Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, in providing messages to security agencies in a readable format.

The standing committee on information technology said the government gave extensions to RIM despite the final deadline of March 31, 2011, when the Canadian firm was supposed to provide readable data to security agencies.

The panel said DoT has not even indicated the status of the report of the committee, which was looking into all types of encrypted communication and whose report was expected by April 20, 2011.

The parliamentary panel said such an issue related to security of the country should not be compromised and pulled up DoT for delay in resolving the BlackBerry issue.

The committee, headed by Rao Inderjit Singh, observed in its report that despite security agencies expressing concerns over the encrypted data of BlackBerry phones and their security risks, the government has not been able to resolve the problem.

Security agencies have expressed concerns on highly encrypted communication made through BlackBerry phones and demanded RIM to provide them data in readable format.

Earlier, RIM had said its competitors were providing a number of other highly encrypted services in the country and sought to make it an industry issue. Thereafter, the government formed a body to come up with a mechanism to deal with encryption issues, mandatory under the Indian Telegraph Act.

The constitution of the committee for this purpose is another delaying tactic, the committee pointed out. DoT informed the panel about action taken by it and progress made by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) in this regard.

DoT instead of taking concrete action on recommendations of the committee simply reproduced the response of C-DOT, which only shows the R&D made by the research organisation in respect of data interception, the panel said.

The panel further said C-DOT has clearly stated that the government would be in a better position to furnish appropriate response to the committee's concern.

Despite that, it said, DoT did not bother to note the response of C-DOT and respond aptly to the issue raised by it.

Courtesy: Mail Today