The common thread that has run through this story so far has been RIM’s insistence that providing security agencies with access to its corporate email services is not possible. Even when they agreed to grant access to its messenger services there was a lack of clarity over what would happen with the corporate email. While both sides maintained that they would continue to work together to find a solution to give Indian Security Agencies lawful access to it, there has been no headway. And now, just before the January 31st deadline BlackBerry maker RIM has refused to let them access their corporate email services.
Last week, we wrote that RIM’s Vice President for industry, government and university relations, Robert E Crow was on his way to India to discuss the leaks issue and take the talks forward. He has now said that there is No Solution – it isn’t technically feasible. He also went on to say that inaccurate leaks about the company willing to comply with Indian Security Agencies has been bad for business with clients often questioning whether their private information would be handed over to the Indian Government.
Again, the reason for him saying that there is no solution is consistent with what the company has been saying all along. Since there is no master key to decrypt the data, there isn’t a way to allow real time snooping. It has worked out a way to let them monitor suspected retail customers though. He also stressed that Blackberry is just one among the many VPNs providers in India and that the issue isn’t unique to them alone. The DoT in the past has suggested that it may also go after Google, Skype and various VPN providers but none have been given the same(if any) amount of attention as RIM has. He added that the company has received requests for data from several countries.
Last week the company said that it would be willing to set up local servers in India, but that it would need 18-24 months to do so and was seeking assurance from the Indian Government that its services would not be banned in the interim period. No news of their stance on this. So is there a possibility that BlackBerry services could be blocked? I doubt it..
What do you think? Let us know!