Ahead of the August 31 deadline for BlackBerry to put on the table a solution to intercept its corporate email service, the government will hold a crucial meeting next week that could signal if the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) would face a blackout in India.
Government sources said the meeting would be chaired by Home Secretary GK Pillai to review the progress over the last ten days.
Pillai had set the deadline on 12 August, demanding a technical solution by 31 August that would enable security agencies to peek into emails and chat messages sent via BES and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
The Home Ministry had then declared that steps would be taken to block these two services from the network if the technical solutions were not on the discussion table by the month-end.
The Canadian maker of BlackBerry smart phones had promised the next day that delayed, manual interception of the BBM service could begin from September 1.
At next week’s meeting, Pillai is expected to be formally briefed about the modalities of intercepting BBM and evaluate the potential of a breakthrough in case of BES.
Security and telecom experts have been holding meetings over the past week with representatives of Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry smart phones, to come up with a way out. Several possibilities have been discussed at these meetings. But each suggestion by one side was shot down by the other.
A PTI report on Sunday said the department of telecom had demanded that RIM set up a server in India.
“We do not care if the solution is to set up a server or tweak the program…. There is a rule for networks to enable interception and we would like them to implement this rule. If they cannot, they will have to switch off,” a government official said.
RIM has got into trouble with security agencies in several countries but has managed to wriggle out.