The Indian government has issued another warning to RIM that its BlackBerry operations in India will be suspended unless it respects Indian laws and adheres to security policies as defined by the government.
The Ministry of Home Affairs wants Research in Motion to allow security forces access to encrypted content that flows in and out of India through their devices. Blackberry services are offered by all leading Indian telecom operators and have a wide user base.
Back in 2008, RIM was issued a similar warning but the matter seemed to have subsided after RIM agreeing in principle that they will allow the government to monitor Blackberry networks. UAE raised similar concerns against Blackberry a few days ago which has renewed the Indian government’s interest in the matter. RIM has servers located in Canada and the encrypted data is sent there. Since the data is encrypted and sent abroad, gaining access to it is practically difficult. Governments of India and UAE believe that this poses a security threat since anti-social elements can use these devices to plan and co-ordinate their activities without the local security forces being able to intercept their communication in time.
The Indian government is quite clear in their warnings, they want RIM to allow security forces access to data sent using Blackberry devices by reducing encryption or providing necessary decryption keys. Speaking on the issue a high-ranking official said, “We will ban BlackBerry services if they refuse to give government details of data shared by users. They have so far denied data on the excuse of encryption. There should not be any problem in sharing the data. If they can provide this to US intelligence agencies, we do not see any reason that they cannot provide the same to Indian agencies.”
RIM on their part has once again said that they will cooperate with the government. The Department of Telecommunication has been directed to interact with RIM and find a solution to the problem. Reuters meanwhile is reporting that there are no plans to ban RIM’s Blackberry services in India.