Centre, operators to discuss BlackBerry issue today

Centre, operators to discuss BlackBerry issue today

In the meeting, the Home Ministry is likely to press for a deadline from BlackBerry to share its encryption details.

“There definitely could be a talk of some deadline and a proposal to take strong action on BlackBerry services during the meeting,” a government official   said on Wednesday.

Internal security chief U K Bansal confirmed that a meeting would take place with mobile operators on Thursday but it was not clear if BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), which has been negotiating with the government, will take part in the meeting.

The meeting is being held two days after the RIM agreed to hand over user codes that would let the Saudi authorities monitor its BlackBerry Messenger, a source close to the talks said on Tuesday.

The authorities fear that BlackBerry e-mail and messaging services may be misused by militants as security agencies cannot access the messages sent through these services.
India had cracked down on the entire mobile phone market following the Mumbai attacks in 2008 as Pakistani terrorists used mobile and satellite phones to coordinate the attacks.

The responsibility to meet Indian security requirements rests with mobile phone operators rather than the RIM.

The RIM, unlike Nokia and Apple, operates its own network through secure services located in Canada and other countries such as Britain.

India—like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and some other countries— has sought access to encrypted BlackBerry communication.

India’s security establishment took a hardline view of RIM’s stance that it does not possess a “master key” to intercept data traffic on BlackBerry, insisting it needs access to encrypted messages in a “readable format.”

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