Department of Telecom might take a cue from Saudi Arabia and ask Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of Blackberry to set up a server in India. It would thus allow the Government to monitor messages sent from the smartphone. This is after RIM and Saudi Arabia Government reached a similar agreement to place a BlackBerry server in Saudi Arabia.
The entire episode is the result of the security concerns raised by Goverments of various countries including India, Saudi Arabia and UAE. The Indian Government is worried that BlackBerry services could be misused by militants as security agencies cannot access and monitor the messages sent through these services. The texts, emails and other data from BlackBerry smartphones are difficult to monitor partly because of the encryption technology and partly because data is routed through RIM’s own facilities in Canada and Britain, rather than locally as with other mobile service providers.
Earlier, RIM agreed to provide the metadata like the Internet Protocol address of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), PIN and International Mobile Equipment Identity of the BlackBerry mobile and other relevant information to the security agencies but it failed to strike a chord with the security agencies which want an uninterrupted access to the messaging services on BlackBerry platform. Blackberry uses a very complex security mechanism for encrypting-decrypting its messages and this is one of the primary reasons for its popularity amongst the corporate houses.
The debate around this controversy revolves around country security from militants Vs the USP of the service provided by BlackBerry manufacturer RIM to its customers (i.e. secure messaging). Country security is an issue which cannot be compromised for any cause. In my opinion, it would be in the best interest of everyone, if RIM adhere to India’s security policy. However, another cause of concern is that it is still not clear whether setting up of servers in India (if RIM agrees) would satisfy the home ministry, which is looking for access to the software code of the servers through which they can decrypt data.
Do you think Blackberry will ever be able to resolve these issues in India?