By Thomas K Thomas
The Hindu Business Line
March 29, 2008
Goa, March 28 -- The Department of Telecom has asked Research In Motion
(RIM), the Canadian company which owns Blackberry services, to look at
the possibility of setting up a server in India in case they are not
willing to share the decryption code.
The DoT's request has been supported by Indian mobile operators who are
also putting pressure on RIM to amicably resolve the issue at the
Meeting in Capital
At a meeting between DoT and RIM in the Capital on Friday, the
Government has asked the company to make necessary arrangements to allow
monitoring by security agencies. Officials from the Canadian High
Commission were also present during the meeting. RIM has sought more
time to respond to DoT.s request.
DoT officials told Business Line that the company has been told that
only Blackberry to Blackberry traffic needs to be monitored.
DoT has given a clean chit to data being sent from a Blackberry device
to another device or through the Internet as this can be decrypted by
the security agencies without getting the codes from RIM. Security
Blackberry services had run into rough weather after security agencies
expressed concern that they could not monitor the data being sent
through the device due to the high encryption codes.
According to Indian Internet services rules, operators are not allowed
to use more than 40 bit encryption code unless they submit a decryption
key to the Government.
RIM, which uses more than 128 bit encryption codes to make the
transmission secure, has refused to submit the decryption codes on the
grounds that it was proprietary.
Support for stand
We are also putting pressure on RIM to do whatever it takes to enable
monitoring by security agencies. We support the request to set up a
server in India,. said a GSM industry representative.
At present, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, BPL and Reliance Communications are
offering Blackberry services in the country to about 4 lakh subscribers.
Tata Teleservices also wants to offer the service but was stopped by DoT
after security agencies raised concerns about monitoring.
Locating a server in India will allow the security agencies to monitor
traffic at the gateway without having to break into the Blackberry.s
secure transmission codes. According to industry estimates, a server
would cost $500,000 at the most.
Earlier, DoT had said that the Government was not interested in banning
Blackberry in the country.
The fallout of the RIM controversy will have a major ramification for
the Internet-based application service providers in the country at
large. Most of the service providers use 128 bit encryption codes and
not all of them have submitted their decryption codes to the Government.
Meanwhile, the Internet Service Providers have asked DoT to raise the
permitted encryption levels from 40 bits to 128 bit at least.
Subscribe to InfoSec News