RIM to allow interception of BlackBerry Messenger in India

RIM to offer Indian agencies access to BlackBerry messenger communication with cloud services and NDAS. Corporate email remains unaffected with this and RIM might avert the 31st January deadline for a ban.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

The ongoing RIM vs Security agencies in India battle might finally see some compromise. RIM was given a 31st January 2011 deadline to comply with the requests put forth by the security agencies. After the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the pressure was stepped up on RIM to allow access to the communication over BlackBerry. One of BlackBerry’s USP has been secure corporate email which made it difficult for the company to easily cave in. To RIM’s credit, they kept their customer interest first.

In a solution proposed, RIM will allow India to monitor conversations over BlackBerry Messenger with the help of cloud services. RIM has set up Network Data Analysis System (NDAS) in India that will allow Indian carriers to intercept Messenger communication. RIM had earlier clarified that the NDAS was only for their consumer services and does not impact their enterprise solutions.

Home Minister P Chidambaram and RIM’s VP for Industry, government and university relations, Robert E Crow met to deliberate on the issue. The Intelligence Bureau of India has been directed by Ministry of Home Affairs to look into the proposed solution.

The details about the “cloud computing based” solution are not available. RIM has taken every opportunity to emphasize that intercepting corporate emails is not possible claiming that only customers can provide decryption keys. RIM has assured that their security architecture has seen no change due to this and their security systems continue to adhere to high standards. In a statement, they said, “RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries.”

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