Govt gives RIM time till Jan to provide data access

Govt gives RIM time till Jan to provide data access

New Delhi: India has given BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) time till January to provide a way for the country’s law enforcement agencies to intercept encrypted email and messaging services over its network.

“They have till January to put all interception solutions in place," said an official of the department of telecommunications (DoT).

The official, who was present at a meeting held between the Canadian firm’s executives and government representatives, said RIM’s position was that “there is no technical solution that would enable lawful access to BES (BlackBerry enterprise service)".

The company has, however, offered a manual solution for the BlackBerry messenger service as an interim way out, the official quoted above said.

“They have asked for time till January 2011 for the automatic solution to be implemented," said another official involved in the discussions.

Both officials did not want to be identified and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The home ministry has disagreed with RIM’s stance that its enterprise services are similar to other proprietary email services.

“This is because the others are publicly encrypted, while the BlackBerry service has private as well as public encryption," said the first official quoted above.

RIM has, however, agreed to hosting a computer server in India so that all content communicated through its services stays within the country, the official added.

The company had earlier been given time till the end of October to find a solution that would enable India’s law enforcement agencies to access communication over the BlackBerry network in a readable format.

RIM’s representatives have met home ministry and DoT officials a number of times to allay concerns that unmonitored BlackBerry services could potentially be used by terrorists.

The United Arab Emirates had on Saturday decided to stay an 11 October ban on BlackBerry services in that country after RIM agreed to abide by rules set by the country’s communications services regulator.