India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

Summary:The Indian government is insisting that it must be able to intercept corporate email messages, something which Research in Motion says it cannot provide. The stand-off continues.

The Indian government, only weeks after reaching an agreement with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, now insists on intercepting corporate communications along with the BlackBerry Messenger service.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, said, "We will insist they give us a solution for [the] enterprise service too".

India cites its reasons to intercept BlackBerrys secure communication systems to combat terrorism, a problem it continues to suffer from with tensions with its neighbours Pakistan and the southern Arabian peninsula.

Research in Motion continues to state that it cannot provide a solution to intercept corporate emails, as the keys to its encryption is held by the entity which owns the server, outside of Research in Motion's reach.

The company states that it does not possess a 'master key' which would allow unrestricted interceptions into corporate email accounts.

The very ethos of the BlackBerry community is that corporate emails cannot be intercepted. This led to an uprising in BlackBerry Messenger users in countries with tight controls on freedom of speech, in a bid to circumvent restrictions.

India is a powerful technology market, one that is important to Research in Motion. With over 700 million phone users, no telecommunications company can afford to lose the Indian market.

On the other hand, phone manufacturers need to balance the needs of their markets' government versus the security and privacy of its customers. I cannot see Research in Motion breaking its core value of secure communications any time soon, even if it does mean losing the Indian market.

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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