Decision on BlackBerry services likely on August 30
The government is likely take a decision regarding banning BlackBerry services on August 30, a day before the deadline it has set for the company to make available tolls to make its data services accessible for monitoring.
The Indian authorities have toughened their stand and has asked Research In Motion RIM), the makers of the popular smartphone devices, to install a server in the country or face ban on its services.
RIM wants to ensure confidentiality and secrecy for its customers with the high level of encryption applied while the authorities want to be able to monitor the data for potential security threats. The mechanism scrambles the emails when sent and then unscrambles them when it reaches its destinations. The security agencies were concerned over the BlackBerry’s Enterprise and Messenger services which can be used by potentials threats to the country.
The home ministry was concerned about monitoring data services on these handsets and had raised the issue with the company. The ministry has asked the telecom authorities to give RIM a period of 15 days to align its email and other data services with the Formats that can be read by the security and intelligence agencies.
RIM has given security agencies an existing tool that allows them to monitor text on encrypted BlackBerry messenger and the government appears to have cleared other services such as the BlackBerry messenger, voice calls and short-messaging services. The corporate e-mail service is not cleared and the government is demanding tools to gain access for monitoring them.
The security and telecom officials will hold technical meetings on Thursday and Friday with the firm to arrive at a solution. About one million of the 41 million BlackBerry users worldwide are in India and a ban could be devastating for the company.
Similar concerns have also being raised in other countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who believe that the services could be used for spreading illegal content in the country.
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