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BlackBerry told to give up its secrets by September 22

Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 18, 2010
First Published: 00:49 IST(18/9/2010) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(18/9/2010)

In a fresh move that could precipitate the existing stalemate between BlackBerry corporate e-mail service provider Research In Motion and the government over security issues, the Department of telecommunications (DoT) has asked the telecom service providers which offer BlackBerry services to install technical capability in their networks by the coming Wednesday to enable interception of these services.

The directive comes even as Jim Balsillie co-CEO of the Canadian firm, said the company had no capability to intercept enterprise (institutional) e-mails. The DoT notice, which effectively brings forward a two-month deadline the government earlier set BlackBerry, was sent to all the telecom service providers on Thursday, hours before Balsillie spoke to analysts in the US.

BlackBerry, commonly used by corporate executives for safe, closed-loop e-mails, has close to one million customers in India. Enterprise customers form about 50 per cent of the total subscriber base. “Please upgrade your technical capability for lawful interception facility of BlackBerry services, if not already upgraded. A compliance report that the network has been technically upgraded to intercept all BlackBerry services by law enforcement authorities must be provided to this office by September, 22, 2010,” said the DoT notice.
“RIM simply has no ability to read the encrypted information and has no master key to allow access,” Balsillie said.

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