India Scrutinizes BlackBerry Security

Indian government officials, telecommunications service providers, and executives of Research in Motion (RIM) are expected to meet on Friday to work out a solution to demands from the Indian government that it should have access to, and the ability to intercept, mails sent over RIM's BlackBerry service, according to a report on Wednesday in an Indian newspaper, Business Standard.

RIM has declined to comment on the government's concerns, which have so far delayed the government's award of a license to offer BlackBerry services to Indian mobile services operator Tata Teleservices.

Other operators, who already hold a license to offer BlackBerry services in India, have been asked to give the government access and the right to intercept emails, under threat of cancellation of their BlackBerry licenses by March 31. These operators include Vodafone Essar, the Indian joint venture of Vodafone Group and Reliance Communications, a large Indian mobile services provider.

RIM did not respond to an e-mail asking if it is prepared to give the Indian government access to its encryption algorithms and to messages on its service.

Under India's Information Technology Act of 2000, the government has the right, under certain circumstances, to intercept electronic communications for security reasons and in the national interest. Security agencies say that terrorists are increasingly using the Internet and applications such as e-mail to communicate with one another.

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