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Monitoring BlackBerry

The government crackdown on BlackBerry services might not go down well with its over one million users in India and may adversely impact its sales.

twitter-logoManu Kaushik | Print Edition: September 19, 2010

The background: In July, the Indian government decided to ban Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry corporate e-mail and messenger services on the grounds of a threat to national security. Agencies have asked for access to BlackBerry services to ensure that subversive elements can take advantage of the government's inability to detect the heavily encrypted data sent on RIM devices.

RIM's standpoint:
Currently, all BlackBerry e-mail, web and messenger encrypted traffic is routed through its proprietary servers. RIM has already offered a way out to security agencies for monitoring its messenger service. RIM is ready to offer information on a deferred basis initially. From November, the information will be available on a real-time basis.

Government's demand:
The Indian authorities want RIM to locate a server in the country - many of its servers are in Canada - and provide easy access to e-mails and data sent via BlackBerry devices. RIM is trying to resolve the issue quickly and the company executives are meeting the Intelligence Bureau and National Technical Research Organisation officials to work out the modus operandi.

Implications: BlackBerry users in India include CEOs, entrepreneurs and top bureaucrats. Any ban on the services will inconvenience them among over one million users. Recently, the sales of the BlackBerry devices have also been hit.

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