Published on April 19th, 2011 | by Babar Bhatti1
India Keeps Pressure on RIM
Among many of its problems, Research in Motion, maker of Blackberry phones, has been trying to find ways to work with India and Middle East governments. As reported in newspaper, a top executive of Research in Motion said Indian security agencies are making “rather astonishing” demands for increased powers to monitor email and other data traffic, raising serious privacy issues that threaten to harm the country’s reputation with foreign investors.
Robert Crow, vice president of industry and government relations for RIM, said India’s Home Ministry, which oversees domestic security, wants the ability to intercept in real time any communication on any Indian network—including BlackBerry’s highly secure corporate-email service—and get it in readable, plain-text format.
In response to that, Indian official Mr. Sibal said the government will address all “security issues” related to interception of data on secure networks. “The draft amendment of licenses to take care of security issues has been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 24 for their comments and will be finalized soon after,” he said.
India is making major changes to how it manages telecom operators and security is one of the things it wants to manage tightly. India wants to monitor RIM’s corporate email and messenger services, fearing that the heavy encryption of BlackBerry phones makes it convenient for terrorists to use them without being monitored. However India says that its not after RIM only – its asking other companies for the same thing.
Mr. Sibal said RIM offered a solution in February to monitor its messenger services and that the telecom department is examining the proposal. The department has also given clearance to some companies to offer third-generation telecom services in certain areas, where they have given an undertaking to allow government agencies to monitor data on their networks.
Reliance Communications Ltd., Tata Teleservices Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. have given such undertakings, he added.