Government gives ultimatum to Blackberry
India wants Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry, to address its security concerns or face closure. Essentially, the government wants the handset maker to allow it to set up a monitoring facility here with access to its encryption technology, which it needs for security reasons.This is the second time that the Centre has threatened to block BlackBerry’s operations. In the earlier instance, tensions were defused after RIM agreed to provide its encryption code to security agencies who have to monitor the chatter among increasingly techsavvy terrorists. The government’s fresh warning has come after reports that RIM was ready to set up a server in China to address Beijing’s security concerns.The home ministry has asked the department of telecommunication (DoT) to check the veracity of the China reports and press RIM to do the same in India. According to security agencies, the move will help India monitor email and SMS traffic on these popular phones. Under the current system, Indian agencies have to approach RIM every time there is a need for access, which is time-consuming and ultimately, they feel, counterproductive. Sources in the government say that security agencies have reasons to resent their inability to access the details of BlackBerry subscribers because of their experience with the satellite phone Thuraya. Thuraya’s refusal to share its codes with Indian agencies has encouraged J&K terrorists and 26/11 plotters to exploit the chink. The home ministry made it clear that RIM was addressing the security concerns of several other countries, including the US, where it operates and there was no justification in not complying with Indian norms.RIM is facing a similar problem in the UAE where authorities are asking for a similar access because their security legislation is incompatible with the firm’s encryption techniques.