No change to BlackBerry security architecture for India: RIM

Last Updated 31 October 2010, 12:01 IST

"No changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumours, the security architecture is the same around the world and Research In Motion (RIM) truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys," the BlackBerry-maker has said in a statement.

The Canada-based company made it clear that its security systems are still cutting edge by saying, "RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries."

Also driving RIM's position is the fact that strong encryption is a fundamental commercial requirement for any country to attract and maintain international business anyway and similarly, strong encryption is currently used pervasively in traditional Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) on both wired and wireless networks in order to protect corporate and government communications.

The government has given RIM time till January next year to provide complete access to contents on BlackBerry devices and the telecom operators were asked to upgrade their networks to meet this requirement or discontinue the services.

Most of the service providers have given compliance reports with regard to BlackBerry Messenger services, though some have questioned the methodology.

BlackBerry has over one million subscribers in India, which is its fastest growing market in the world in terms of new subscriber additions.

"RIM is pleased with the progress we are achieving together with the government of India and we remain optimistic about reaching a positive and final resolution to regulatory matters in India. We are also committed to working with carriers and others in our sector to address these matters," the statement said.

The moot question, however, remained whether the government would get instant access to BlackBerry's Enterprise Mail service or not. Intelligence agencies have maintained that the Canadian firm has to place the server in India, which may not be acceptable to RIM.

"While we don't comment on the details of confidential regulatory discussions that occur with the government of any country, we can confirm that we continue to approach lawful access matters internationally within the same framework of core principles," RIM said.

It said that carriers' capabilities are limited to the strict context of lawful access and national security requirements as governed by the country's judicial oversight and rules of law.

The carriers' capabilities must be technology and vendor neutral, allowing no greater access to BlackBerry consumer services than the carriers and regulators already impose on RIM's competitors and other similar communication technology companies.

Sources in the Telecom Ministry said this could force intelligence agencies to put pressure on the Canadian firm to give complete access to the authorities as per India's requirements.

(Published 31 October 2010, 12:01 IST)

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