BlackBerry users on BSNL, MTNL network face disconnection

Thomas K. Thomas
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As the two public sector telcos are yet to comply with security requirement

BlackBerry phone users on Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s network face disconnection as the two public sector telecom companies are yet to comply with the security requirements.

The Department of Telecom had asked all telecom companies to connect to a server set up by Blackberry in Mumbai that would enable security agencies to get access to data transmitted through some of the applications offered on the device.

While all the private players including Vodafone and Airtel have complied with this requirement, the two PSUs have sought more time. Both MTNL and BSNL have told DoT that they need to buy some additional equipment to connect their network to the server for which they are going through the tendering process. DoT may set a deadline of February 28 for the two operators to comply or switch of Blackberry services.

According to an internal Government note seen by Business line, the Canada-based phone maker has offered a solution to decrypt BlackBerry Messenger Services, BlackBerry Internet Services for which the company has located a server in Mumbai for enabling the interception by security agencies.

While Blackberry has expressed its inability to give access to data on its Blackberry Enterprise Services (BES), security agencies are looking to request corporates to give access to their internal servers that support Blackberry email services. For this the telecom operators have been asked to give server-related information about BlackBerry users to the DoT. The server identity (technically called Server Routing Protocol) is linked to each BlackBerry device given by the operator at the time of activating the connection. In addition to this the DoT wants information related to PIN and the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number linked to each Blackberry device. These two numbers are required to pin point the identity of the user.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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