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BlackBerry proposes solutions, but India wants more

delhi Updated: Aug 04, 2010 23:51 IST

Reuters
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Research In Motion has proposed to share with the government some details of its BlackBerry services, but security agencies want full access, a government source said on Wednesday.

The government has raised concerns that BlackBerry services could be misused by militants as security agencies cannot access the messages sent through these services and has asked RIM to offer a solution to address the country's security requirements.

RIM has said that it is impossible for it or any other third party to read encrypted data sent via its enterprise offering and that the company cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key.

After several meetings with government officials, the company has proposed that it could share the IP address of BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) and the PIN and IMEI numbers of BlackBerry mobiles, a senior government official familiar with the discussions said, but added these were not sufficient.

"Those details do not give us access to encrypted services and is unaccpetable," the official, who did not want to be named as the matter is not yet public, told Reuters.

"We should be able to have full access to meet our security concerns," the official said.

Another government source had told Reuters on Tuesday that talks between RIM and officials from the telecommunications ministry were still on and expected that they would be able to find a solution by the end of August.

"There should be a possibility of lawful interception and the service provider should give us that access. Until that is met, our security concerns shall remain," U K Bansal, internal security chief, told Reuters.

He said RIM was still discussing possible solutions with the telecommunications ministry, which would send it to the home (interior) ministry for clearance when it was ready.

Bansal had earlier said RIM had assured the government that they would be addressing the country's concerns.

The Economic Times on Wednesday reported that India's security establishment had taken a hard-line view of RIM's stance and that the solutions offered by RIM were being tested by the security agencies.

The data security prized by corporate BlackBerry users is a headache for governments intent on monitoring chatter.

India's concerns over BlackBerry services dates back to 2008 when the issue was sorted out after a series of meetings between the company and the state, before resurfacing again recently.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the latest countries to fret about BlackBerries and the national security concerns raised by their inability to monitor traffic on them.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday ordered at least one Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphone service to be blocked.