India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

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.

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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

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24 comments
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  • Bye India

    Imagine a world without India... those 45 people we need to hire for our project would be hired here in the US...
    Hasam1991
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @Hasam1991
      The companies will have the option of hiring similar talent in Vietnam, China, South Africa, Brazil or Russia. And then there is Australia and several other countries in EU. In the world of multi-nationals, let it be head quartered in India, US, UK or elsewhere - their interests transcends borders. All of them want to derisk their existence beyond the existence of any single state or country. And that is "the right."

      IMHO, Business, Politics and Religion should be kept separate. Each has its own place. But one should not dictate the actions of the other, though they should have a common foundation on morality, ethical behavior and humanity.
      Bijo Kappen
      • Not the same thing ...

        @tx2010

        "[i]The companies will have the option of hiring similar talent in Vietnam, China, South Africa, Brazil or Russia.[/i]"

        One huge difference--in most of those countries the people aren't native speakers of English. South African universities are nowhere near the level of EU or U.S. Although Australians speak English, the country just isn't a hotbed of computer and engineering talent--just like Canada.
        Rick_R
      • On the other hand Rick

        @tx2010

        At least you can place more trust in the integrity of us Australian workers, even if we [i]aren't[/i] a hotbed of computer and engineering talent. Here in Australia, most University qualifications from India are formally unacknowledged due to the inherent corruption endemic to said nation... but hey - it's [i]your[/i] information... you gamble!
        kaninelupus
      • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

        @Rick_R English is a first language to only about 230,000 Indians. It's a second language to 230,000,000 Indians, but as anybody who ever got a help desk in India knows, there's a wide variation in English speaking ability.
        wilback
      • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

        @tx2010

        IMHO, Business, Politics and Religion should be kept separate. I agree with that too!

        <strong><a href="http://lasvegasshowsauthority.com/">las vegas show</a></strong>
        Micheldb
    • Well, on the other hand...

      @Hasam1991

      Companies like Coke, Mcdonalds, UPS, etc., pretty much any global company looking to have postive growth over the next 10 years...They want/need India around. China, too. Because for the next decade or two, that's where the % increase for product demand will be.

      Without those two countries, the afore mentioned companies will see only stagnant demand for their product offering over the next 10-15 years, unless S. America comes around.

      Which affects our blue chips, and sends our Dow below 10k again.

      At which point, those 45 jobs won't be available anyways.
      SonofaSailor
  • So?

    All countries spy and snoop in on email/phone/web, why just pick on India.
    james347
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @james347
      It's one thing for a government to intercept and decrypt communications- an entirely different matter for a company entrusted with security to provide the means to do so.
      davesully
      • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

        @davesully

        And, we should note, that it is not ok to decrypt and spy just because you are the government! You must also first have valid cause and obtain court authority (warrant, etc.) to do so. At least, that is the methodology that exists where the inherent rights of the citizens are respected. The government exists to serve us, and at OUR whim...not vice versa! When the government fails to understand its role and relationship to the people...the people have the right to "alter or abolish".
        Techboy_z
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @james347 - the same reason most businesses offshore to India, despite all countries having "talent".
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

    It is the blatent demand that is the outrage. US, Russia, China... employ a different tactic. The US cracks the code and then Russia and China spy on the US until they have it.
    dbisse@...
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @dbisse@... or crack it themselves.

      Given that Chinese super computers are catching up the US, I would not put it past them to being to crack it themselves.
      Knowles2
  • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

    Though it does make me wonder about Android and iPhones enterprise email. They are probably already cracked.
    dbisse@...
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @dbisse@...
      Android and iPhone Enterprise security relies mainly on the power of the Exchange backbone. Blackberry adds an additional layer (with MUCH higher granularity) with the BES. It's why Blackberry still holds on to so much of the enterprise market- Android and iOS don't compare to the level of security that RIM brings to the game.
      davesully
  • Imaging India without Blackberry

    One less thing to flaunt for corp execs <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy"><br>Yes. We'd miss BES, but Nokia isn't too bad...<br>Hopefully Nokia will make full use of this opp to increase their marketshare and make E series a convincing/viable alternative to Blackberry.<br><br>
    Bijo Kappen
  • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

    Just one thing is missing in above discussion .. <br> Its an open secret that all such companies in questions already have such "info sharing / intercepting " arrangement with Govt of Developed nations . So is their security more IMP than that of poor countries like ours . <br>After all, we all have 5.5 litres of blood :) <br>And lets not mix this issue with that of Outsourcing .<br><br>~Abhi
    abhisheksrivastava3@...
  • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

    If you are offended by the Govt of India demanding access to email and other electronic messages, first, all corporations legally spy on their employees; it is their equipment and they are paying the bills. Second, lookup "project carnivore" in wikipedia and read about how the US has been doing this for at leaswt about 15 years. If you still want to object to the Government of India wanting this capability, you probably object to India being a nuclear power as well. So sorry, the world today is not the world in which we grew up.
    K V Devan
    • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

      @K V Devan
      The difference is, RIM didn't spoonfeed any information to the US Government to facilitate the government's ability to spy on Blackberry users. The US Government, if it wants to do those things, has to figure out how the decryption will work all on its own.

      RIM isn't compelled to deliberately compromise its customers' confidence in the USA by assisting the US government in the US government's illicit acts of privacy invasion. And RIM shouldn't be compelled to do so in India either.
      lfmorrison
      • RE: India insists upon BlackBerry corporate email spying capability

        @lfmorrison

        Well, your logic seems a little crooked one. So you have no objection as long as a Government does this on it's own but it should not get it from RIM. So for you Government spying is not a big concern but forcing RIM is.

        Secondly, nobody is compelling RIM to compromise. They always have a option to say no to the Indian Government. You are assuming that RIM which is a stock market listed company and evaluates itself more on the Quarterly Profits and Stock Price Charts than ethics and morals is the victim here. I would be keenly watching for RIM to announce for RIM to pull out of India because of unethical demands of the Indian Government.

        The only victim here is the Indian customer and let him hold the Indian Government accountable if there intentions of spying is that bad. It's not like China where the Government actions cannot be taken to the task by the citizens.
        amit.kureel