BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been in the news recently for refusing to let the Indian government decrypt and, if required, watch over text messages and emails being sent and received by its users in the country.
The Indian government had threatened to shut down BlackBerry services here because it couldn’t access RIM’s server data, and said this could be a threat to Indian security. RIM had initially refused to give in to the government, but a financial daily recently reported that Research In Motion had agreed to allow the Indian government access to its data through a cloud based system.
These reports were denied by RIM through a statement emailed to Total Tele website, in which it clarified that media reports saying the company had agreed to install network data analysis systems (NDAS) in its Indian office were inaccurate and that such interception of corporate emails is not being offered; nor is it technologically feasible.
The company further said that the BlackBerry Enterprise Service security structure would remain unchanged and consistent for all the countries it operates in.
The report in The Economic Times claimed that Research in Motion (RIM) had a proposal for the Government of India, allowing it to lawfully intercept data through cloud computing. The newspaper further said the company had conveyed this message to the Indian government through a letter and that the government had asked its Intelligence Bureau to validate the technology proposed by RIM.
In another statement to PCMag.com, the maker of BlackBerry devices, RIM, said the confusion may have arisen due to lack of clarity about the terminology used by RIM. There is a difference between the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES), and media reporting the news may not have realised this.
RIM also clarified that reports about the January 31 deadline were inaccurate, which was corroborated by the Indian government’s statements.
RIM has been under pressure from the Indian government for quite some time to allow interception of its encrypted emails and messenger services, as the government believes encryption of data by RIM may allow terrorists to use these services with impunity.
RIM has said it is cooperating with the Indian government to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution so that mobile carriers can lawfully access encrypted data on the BlackBerry Messenger.