The government is "firm" in expecting BlackBerry maker RIM to give security agencies lawful access to their encrypted data within the next 60 days and there is no uncertainty over this stand, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said.
Chidambaram also made it clear there would be no compromise on the security of the nation in the operations of Research In Motion (RIM) —makers of Blackberry — and other service providers like Google and Skype.
The minister said RIM had agreed to provide access to some of the communications transmitted through its system. These have been operationalised from Wednesday, he said.
Chidambaram made these remarks while presenting the home ministry’s report card on Wednesday at a CII function here on Tuesday night.
"Discussion on technical solutions for further access are continuing and the matter will be reviewed within 60 days," Chidambaram, who was flanked by Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, said.
Pillai said "people who operate communication services in India should have servers
in India as well as make available access to law enforcement agencies, whatever communications passes through telecommunication network in India and that has been made clear to RIM of BlackBerry but also to other companies."
Home ministry officials said the other service providers included Google and internet phone call provider Skype. These service providers will also have to provide access to their services in the next 60 days, a senior official later said.
The home minister said a decision on the legal steps to be taken once the enemy property ordinance promulgated in July lapsed was to be taken by the Union Cabinet.
Due to the opposition of certain parties including the BJP, Chidambaram had announced that a fresh bill containing ordinance provisions and official amendments would be introduced in the next session of Parliament.
Asked if, as a lawyer, he had ever appeared in any case relating to the erstwhile Raja in court, Chidambaram said he did not have any recollection and if he had, it must have been in a miscellaneous case.
But asking a lawyer if he had appeared in a case eight or ten years ago was like asking a taxi driver whether he transported A from location X to Y eight years ago.
"There are hundreds of miscellaneous cases that we appear in. I have no recollection at all and no one has called me to say I briefed you or anything like that," he said.