The Financial Express
July 03, 2008
Almost seven months after asking telecom companies to stop providing the
push mail Blackberry services on the grounds that it did not provide for
legal interception, the department of telecommunications (DoT) did a
complete turnaround on Wednesday stating that there were no security
threat from the services.
Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of an industry conference, DoT
secretary, Siddhartha Behura, said, "There is no threat from Blackberry
services." Interestingly, the DoT had earlier, on the advice of the home
ministry pulled up companies like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, and
Reliance Communications for starting the services without the
government's prior approval. The three companies currently provide
On the same grounds it had withheld permission to Tata Teleservices Ltd
(TTSL) when it sought to start the services.
However, on Wednesday Behura said that, "there is no permission needed
for starting value added services. We have not given permission to
anybody, we have not disallowed anybody." However, he added that
security agencies have raised certain issues and talks are on regarding
His comments assumes significance because not only did the DoT write
letters to TTSL for not starting the services without the provision for
legal interception, it also held a series of meetings with telecom
companies and the Canadian firm, Research In Motion (RIM), which
provides the technology for Blackberry services, to provide a solution.
The talks till date have, officially not produced any results.
Despite RIM's assurances to work with the mobile operators currently
providing the service in the country, it has not yet been able to either
provide a solution to the security agencies to be able to decode the
content communicated on the device or shift the servers to the country
so as to enable security agencies to monitor e-mails and other data.
The whole issue of legal interception and legality of the Blackberry
services had come to light late last year when TTSL sought government's
approval to start the services. When the matter, as per procedure was
referred to the home ministry, it was discovered that service did not
provide for legal interception.
On being denied permission, TTSL had written to DoT that since other
operators were providing the services without fulfilling the
requirements it should also be allowed to do so. DoT had sought to
restrain it stating that non-compliance of instructions by any other
operator cannot be a valid ground for...
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