Govt to RIM: Hand over BlackBerry keys by Aug 15


2 May 2011
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The government has set an August 15 deadline for Canada's Research In Motion to provide the country's intelligence agencies with the interception keys to enable real-time tracking of its popular BlackBerry messenger and corporate email services in readable format.

The ultimatum comes after recent talks between the government and RIM over a satisfactory interception solution proved inconclusive.

Ongoing talks have failed to throw up a solution for interception of Blackberry messenger, chat and corporate email services. "Since RIM had missed its earlier May 15, 2011 deadline, the company has been told to come up with an interception solution by August 15, failing which the government may have to consider suspension of the service," a top official privy to the talks said.

In response to ET's email query on the August 15 deadline, a RIM spokesman said: "Further to your query regarding BlackBerry's messenger and internet services, RIM has nothing further to add to its statement of January 13, 2011." In January, RIM had claimed it had delivered a solution that would enable India's wireless carriers to address lawful access requirements for its customer messaging services like BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry Internet Service email.

A government panel examining security threats posed by around 15 forms of communications, including RIM's BlackBerry services, had suggested that in the short term, India should ask companies offering such encrypted communication services to either locate servers in India or share encryption keys with security agencies.

As a long-term solution, it had suggested that the upcoming Central Monitoring System be empowered to intercept all forms of communication. An internal telecoms department note, reviewed by ET, claims "no explicit permission has been given by the government for starting BlackBerry services without setting up a server."

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