Boot the Indian Server or Shut Down : Govt to RIM (BlackBerry)

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RIM is really going through hard time, atleast in India these days. Toughening its stand on Sunday, India Govt has issued an ultimatum to RIM (BlackBerry) to get in-lined with the security concerns and any other proposal would be unaccepted but to install server in India for tracking its messenger and enterprise mail service as the offer made by it to provide data from its Canada-based server could be detrimental to national security.

BlackBerry maker RIM (Research in Motion) has offered its services on the deferred basis after it faced the threat of possible shutdown of the core features by 31 August if security agencies can’t gain access and control over the BlackBerry’s heavily encrypted messaging services.

In order to reach to an acceptable agreement with Indian government, RIM has made a failed attempt where Govt. would hand over the list of BlackBerry phones for which monitoring need to be done and company in turn will hand over unencrypted messaging details of those phones in not more than 10 days. Initially RIM has proposed this exercise manually which later changed to non-human-interaction methodology by cloud based solution. Unfortunately security agencies  turned down the proposal scouting over the sensitivity of information and possible hack and leak of those information while getting them access through Canada based server. Even the automated system of extracting information from Canada-based server was not free of danger because the information could be hacked midway, the sources said.

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The sources said that RIM officials were conveyed in no uncertain terms that they should deploy their interception server in India with the Indian Service Provider having a definitive tracking system.

Taking serious exception to BlackBerry’s inability to provide a solution to BES, the Home Ministry again wrote to the Telecom Ministry that if the RIM officials in collaboration with the service providers do not come up with a solution to BES, the service should be stopped immediately.

Initially RIM has fished out any possibility of handing over any control or data of their users to any authority. As a response, Indian Government made it clear to company that no service provider or company is over and above the nation’s security and can’t operate in country with their own terms & conditions. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, RIM later offered to work with government to solve this issue where company can hand over the information to gov of those number which need to be monitored. However, the security agencies insisted on a real-time information rather than a deferred one in the interest of national security.

Besides India, Saudi and UAE govt is also looking for the similar solution form the RIM. UAE has set the deadline of Oct in order to block the services, if company fails to incorporate such monitoring services to their security agencies. Due to such threats from multiple countries, company lost $2.7 billion in stocks despite the launch of new BlackBerry smartphone “Torch” due to possible market disconnect from few nations including India and Indonesia, one of the biggest mobile market across the globe.

The BlackBerry makers are racing against time to meet the August 31 deadline set by the Government earlier this month to provide a solution for intercepting the BBM and BES or see the prospect of the mobile phone’s popular services being shut down in the country.

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The Government is firm that any proposal of RIM would be accepted only after security agencies are satisfied with the technology of interception.

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