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Blackberry services still under security cloud

Blackberry services still under security cloud
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First Published: Wed, Apr 16 2008. 12 36 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Apr 16 2008. 12 36 AM IST
New Delhi: The government is believed to have issued instructions to mobile service providers like Bharti Airtel, Reliance and Vodafone not to route certain Blackberry services unless the required monitoring system was put in place.
According to officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT), Blackberry licensor Research-in-Motion (RIM) has sought time till 18 April to address issues raised by it relating to lawful interception of content sent through Blackberry device.
DoT fears that the service could become a threat to national security since communication through Blackberry devices was routed through a server outside the country. Hence, the government has asked RIM to place a monitoring system in India.
Blackberry is a premium mobile service that allows sending and receiving e-mails in the form of SMS and has about four lakh subscribers in India. Most of the high-end users of mobile operators use Blackberry both for voice as well as data services.
“They (RIM) have sought time till 18 April to revert to us on all the issues raised relating to lawful interception of the contents on Blackberry. If our issues are not addressed we may be forced to take a stern action,” DoT officials said.
DoT had held a meeting of all service providers, RIM officials and other stakeholders last week to resolve the issue, sources said that RIM is likely to offer some solution.
Tata Teleservices is still awaiting approval from the DoT as well as Ministry of Home Affairs to start Blackberry services for its subscribers.
When contacted, Blackberry officials refused to comment saying that as per policy the company does not comment on the confidentiality of regulatory issues in the country.
Asked whether the company would be reverting to DoT with a resolution of the issues raised by DoT and the security agencies, the company remained tight lipped.
DoT is likely to meet the service providers again next week to review the situation.
Sources said the Blackberry service provider will have to place the monitoring system in India and that was possible only if the server for routing of calls and e-mails was in the country of operation.
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First Published: Wed, Apr 16 2008. 12 36 AM IST
More Topics: Blackberry | DoT | RIM | Security | Ban |