DoT asks RIM to set up server in India

DoT asks RIM to set up server in India
DoT asks RIM to set up server in India 

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.

ISP's. request

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.

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