BlackBerry server in China? India wants a monitoring unit too

Discussion in 'China' started by RAM, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: India wants the Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry, to address its security concerns or face closure. Essentially, India wants the handset-maker to allow it to set up a monitoring facility here with Indian access to its encryption technology, which it needs for security reasons, a fact recently flagged by security agencies.

    This is the second time that the government has threatened to block the operations of BlackBerry. In the earlier instance, tensions were defused after RIM agreed to provide its encryption code to security agencies burdened with having to monitor the chatter among increasingly tech-savvy terrorists.

    The fresh confrontation comes after reports that RIM was ready to set up a server in China to address Chinese security concerns.

    The home ministry has asked the department of telecommunication (DoT) to check the veracity of reports of a server being set up in China and then press the Canadian company to do the same in India.

    According to security agencies, this will help India monitor email and SMS traffic on these popular phones. In the current system, Indian agencies have to approach the Canadian company every time it wants access, which is time-consuming and ultimately, they feel, counter-productive.

    Sources in government say that security agencies have reasons to resent their inability to access the details of BlackBerry subscribers, because of their experience with the satellite phone Thuraya. Thuraya's refusal to share their codes with Indian security agencies have encouraged terrorists in J&K as well as those behind the 26/11 attacks to exploit the chink.

    A senior government official said, "Though RIM has been fully cooperating ever since the matter was taken up with it in 2008, reports of the company's move to set up a server in China forced us to look at it in a different way."

    Officials here believe that if the Canadian company can take care of China's concerns by reportedly setting up a server there, it can do the same for India which is an equally big market for BlackBerry.

    "If the company agrees to set up a server in India, it will help monitoring agencies keep track of emails and SMSes as and when required for security reasons," an official said. ``If they don't follow our guidelines, we will have no option but to ask them to stop their operations in India.''

    The home ministry had recently asked DoT to tell the company in no uncertain terms that its email and other data services must comply with formats that can be monitored by security and intelligence agencies.

    The ministry made it clear that RIM was addressing security concerns of several other countries, including the US, where it operates and therefore, there was no justification in not complying with the same in India.

    The smartphone's server is based in Canada where the encryption level is very high and extremely difficult to crack. Any message going through a Canadian server is encrypted and therefore cannot be accessed by intelligence agencies in India.

    Senior officials of key security agencies at a recent meeting argued that the continuation of BlackBerry services in the present format poses danger to the country.

    The latest development indicates that security agencies are again finding it difficult to intercept or decipher messages sent through these phones, which use codes with an encryption of 256 bits. This encryption code first scrambles the emails sent from a Blackberry device and unscrambles it when the message reaches its target.

    RIM is facing a similar problem in the UAE where the authorities are asking for a similar access because their security legislation is incompatible with RIM's encryption techniques.
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...a-monitoring-unit-too/articleshow/6230540.cms
     
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