India gets access to BlackBerry services

BlackBerry Messenger is now in India's grasp
BlackBerry Messenger is now in India's grasp

India said that it now has manual access to the BlackBerry messenger service and it wants more hooks into the system.

“We have manual access to the messenger services. We want automated access and we are hopeful of getting that from January 1,” G.K. Pillai, India’s home secretary, told Reuters.

India is just one of many countries which want deeper access to Research In Motion’s encrypted services. These countries say that the secure environment which RIM is known for has been used by dissidents and terrorists to coordinate attacks.

Generally, when a government wants to gain access to mobile data, it goes to the carrier and demands it. This happens in the United States and many other countries. But the RIM BlackBerry uses a security architecture which can be more complex.

RIM is in a tough spot here because many of these countries represent growth and selling more BlackBerry handsets and BlackBerry servers but it may not be capable of what some of these governments want.

In a response to some BlackBerry bans, RIM said:

The BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers is purposefully designed to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information under any circumstances. RIM would simply be unable to accommodate any request for a copy of a customer’s encryption key since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator, ever possess a copy of the key.

The pressure is only going to grow on RIM, as more countries want access to BlackBerry services in the name of national security. RIM may have to give in to the demands and figure out some form of compromise in order to make inroads in some markets.

Of course, RIM is making some inroads in China without having to sacrifice much but so far, it hasn’t been pressured by the government.

[Via Reuters]

  • WillieD

    I think the purpose of BlackBerry is to keep information secure.
    Terrorists arent buying BlackBerry, they are buying prepaid untraceable phones – things that are disposable. Not things that need user names, pins, and can be tracked (even if the information is secure).

    I think that RIM should uphold their security and tell these nations that they wont compromise their business or their customers privacy – regardless of state or country laws. I mean after all, RIM is Canadian – they dont have to follow other laws of other countries as they are not providing servers in said countries.

    The fact that Obama also wants access is appalling to me – he was the government official that wanted BlackBerry because its secure, and he claims he is for civil rights, yet he wants to pull a UAE, Saudi Arabia and India and access our information. Freedom of Information Act – hmmm, maybe I could ask to see his emails too. After all if you are going to violate my privacy, why not have the people of the nation (for the people, by the people) see it too!

    • DMatch

      Terrorist need not by buy/subscribe to BB services themselves to make use of it. During the Mumbai attacks the Pakistani terrorists allegedly used the BBs & mobil phones of their hostages.

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