Your fancy BlackBerry phone could go from an email-on-the-move with free messenger service to becoming an ordinary cellphone by August 31.
That’s the deadline set by the government for Research in Motion (RIM), the owners of BlackBerry, to comply with security regulations.
The government has been trying to get RIM to allow access to the highly encrypted system it uses for its email and messenger services. The reason: to allow security and intelligence agencies to track emails and messages sent via its system.
"If a solution is not provided by August 31, the government will take steps to block these services,” Home Ministry’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
The announcement came hours after Home Secretary GK Pillai convened a meeting with the Department of Telecom, the Intelligence Bureau and the National Technical Research Organisation that provides technical expertise to the security establishment.
Telecom licences require operators to provide facilities to monitor voice and data traffic passing through its network.
"The rule is that if a telecom service is not amenable to lawful interception, it cannot be permitted. We will start implementing the rule after the deadline,” a government official said.
But officials privately say the Centre is unlikely to pull the plug. “RIM will come around… put a workable proposal on the table within the next 19 days,” a government official said.
BlackBerry officials did not respond to HT. India has more than a million BlackBerry subscribers. RIM’s vice-president for industry, government and university relations had called on the Home Minister to discuss the logjam.