India Wants to Eavesdrop on BlackBerrys
BlackBerry users, beware of the snoops. On Mar. 28, India’s Telecommunications Dept. told telecom carriers, Internet service providers, and officials at Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that makes BlackBerrys, that it wants to eavesdrop on transmissions from every BlackBerry phone in the country. To comply, RIM might have to route calls and e-mails through government computer servers based in India. The reason: Intelligence officials worry that terrorists using BlackBerrys might avoid detection.
Indian telecom authorities already intercept the signals between BlackBerrys and other companies’ cell phones but not those just between RIM’s phones. That’s because RIM’s encrypted signals pass through its servers in Canada, which the Indian government can’t touch. Telecom carriers have agreed to comply, but RIM officials, says a carrier, have asked for time to decide. RIM couldn’t be reached for comment.
One possible solution might be to have RIM and carriers use a proxy server where e-mails and data from BlackBerrys in India would be stored for six months. That’s how RIM has appeased officials in China and Singapore, analysts say. RIM has never explained those arrangements. “The Telecom Dept. might look at a more holistic approach to address the security concerns of encryption,” says Alok Shende, technology practice head at research firm DataMonitor in Hyderabad, in southern India.
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