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BlackBerry-maker gets time till month-end to address concerns
New Delhi, Aug 12
The Government on Thursday gave Research In Motion Ltd (RIM), time until August 31 to address concerns raised by the security agencies on two services offered on BlackBerry devices.
Security agencies want RIM to enable them access to data flowing through BlackBerry devices either by setting up a server in India or by giving decryption keys. Security agencies are worried that since data flowing through BlackBerry cannot be monitored it is being used by terrorists to communicate with one another.
The deadline was set following a meeting between Home Secretary Mr G.K. Pillai, officials from the Department of Telecommunications and federal security agencies
“The meeting asked the Telecom Department to convey to service providers that two BlackBerry services namely, Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES) and Blackberry Messenger Service(BMS) be made accessible to Law Enforcement Agencies by August 31. If a technical solution is not provided by August 31, the Government will review the position and take steps to block these two services from the network,” said an official statement. Other BlackBerry services such as voice, SMS and BlackBerry Internet Services have been made available to Law Enforcement Agencies.
This means that if the ban comes into effect consumers with BlackBerry devices will be able to make calls, send SMS and surf the Internet but they will not be able to access their emails under the BES or send instant messages between two BlackBerry devices.
India is not the only country which has raised security concerns against RIM. In the UAE, BlackBerry's Messenger, email and Web browsing services will be halted from October 11, the nation's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said on August 1. Other countries that have expressed concern about the BlackBerry include Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
RIM has maintained that it cannot meet requests for encryption keys to its BES service since it does not have the codes. But it has told the Government that it was willing to share data related to the IP address of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of any BlackBerry device which the security agencies may want to track.
Security agencies had raised concerns against a number of services including Gmail and Skype but DoT has decided to tackle BlackBerry issue first. The primary concern is that these services are highly encrypted and the security agencies do not have the technology to crack into them.
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