India Blocking Nokia Push E-Mail Until Surveillance in Place

BlackBerry smartphones aren’t the only ones that have to worry about getting keeping access in India. In a communication between home and telecom ministries, it was asked that a hold was placed on the sale of Nokia devices with push e-mail until monitoring systems were in place. This is part of a new standards compliance that is being pushed on all local carriers so that government agencies can lawfully intercept telephone numbers, device identities, e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and keywords in real-time. Nokia representatives in India said they haven’t heard about this, but that they continually aim to meet government demands wherever they do business.

Contrary to Lazaridis’ complaints about RIM’s dealings in India, it’s clear BlackBerry isn’t being singled out. As much as the government of India wants to be able to lawfully intercept communications themselves, they’re also touchy about others having the ability, as evidenced in this statement from the Department of Telecommunications from the end of December. Although that’s primarily directed at individuals and companies unlawfully intercepting cell phone transmissions, it does leave me to wonder how well the Indian government looks upon seemingly-altruistic companies like RIM and Nokia.

Nokia will eventually be making the switch to Windows services, but I imagine the need to be able to intercept data sent through the services would remain, and I doubt Microsoft’s push e-mail set-up is so different than Nokia’s that it would immediately meet the government of India’s needs.

[via Economic Times]

Update: A DoT official has clarified in an interview that internal communications have suggested that Nokia’s push e-mail should be banned, but that no such order has been given yet.

  • Kaushal

    Simon, that isn’t entirely accurate. I just saw this – Nokia India’s official response and a statement by the Secretary of the DoT, India.

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