Govt, Blackberry makers to jointly resolve security issues

Govt, Blackberry makers to jointly resolve security issues

New Delhi: Stepping up efforts to resolve the security concerns related to Blackberry services, government has joined hands with Canadian firm Research in Motion (maker of Blackberry devices) to address the issue of data encryption.

“Our technical team (task force), in coordination with RIM, is working to sort out the issue of data security. We are positive to solve all security-related concerns," Minister of State for IT and Communication Jyotiraditya Scindia told PTI.

Security agencies have confirmed that the system is susceptible to misuse by anti-national forces and had asked for government intervention.

“Ministry of Home Affairs is looking after the security aspect of Blackberry to ensure that the service doesn’t harm anyone," Scindia said.

Indian Mujahideen terrorists used WiFi network to send emails claiming responsibilty for the serial blasts that rocked the nation during past months.

Considering its misuse, law enforcement agencies have even raised demands to restrict Blackberry services.

However, the ministry ruled out all such speculation and said that it did not plan to ban Blackberry.

“We are here to provide free flow of service and we are doing that. Our ministry is there to make sure that customers don’t face any problem. The service (Blackberry) is operational and we hope that it continues to run," the minister said.

The security agencies have asked the Department of Telecom to ensure that traffic originating and terminating in India does not travel outside the country.

Amidst security concerns raised on the use of Blackberry services, India has already assured Canada that commercial interest of RIM, the maker of Blackberry, would be kept in mind while taking any final decision.

Both Indian and Canadian governments had exchanged letters to sort out the issue.

On 17 April, Canadian High Commissioner David M. Malone had written a letter to Communications and IT Minister A. Raja, through Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), on the issue of lawful interception of information related to RIM.

MEA in its reply to Malone on 25 April said, “It would be advisable for RIM to recognise that Department of Telecommunications is trying to be helpful in the case and to work together with them. It may not help the RIM cause to make allegations about those who are trying to help them."

There are about 400,000 Blackberry subscribers in India and the services are being offered by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications and BPL.

The DoT had also convened a meeting of various stakeholders in order to find a solution to the problem including IB officials with technical representative of RIM.