Home Affairs Ministry agrees to Research In Motion's solution.

Problematic services

The issue was with BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry corporate e-mails.

Cloud-based monitoring will give access to Messenger service, it is not known how the company plans to deal with corporate e-mail service.

Thomas K. Thomas

New Delhi, Dec. 20

In what could be a relief to all BlackBerry users, the deadlock between security agencies and the device-maker is heading for a breakthrough.

The Canada-based Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, has agreed to offer monitoring on cloud-based computing instead of setting up a local server. The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to this solution from Research In Motion (RIM).

In a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Vice-President (Government Relations) of RIM, Mr Robert Crow, said, “As per the compliance schedule agreed to by both Research In Motion and the Ministry of Home Affairs, RIM infrastructure is ready to receive and process via the cloud computing-based system lawfully intercepted BlackBerry Messenger data from Indian service providers.”

The Home Ministry had given time till December-end for RIM to come up with a solution that will enable security agencies to snoop into data flowing through BlackBerry devices on a real-time basis. While it is not yet clear how the cloud computing-based monitoring will work, sources said that the Indian authorities were satisfied with the system.

While RIM had opened up its network for the security agencies to track voice calls, SMS, chat conversation on a real-time basis, the issue was with BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry corporate e-mails.

The problem is that these two services are highly encrypted and security agencies do not have the technology to break into it. While the cloud-based monitoring will give access to the Messenger service, it is not known how the company plans to deal with the corporate e-mail service.

Earlier, Mr Crow had told Business Line that he was confident that there will be no ban on any BlackBerry services.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has told DoT to ensure that the enterprise communication services offered by other vendors, including Nokia and Cisco, also have systems that allow security agencies to snoop into the network.

Nokia has already set up a server in India, which will enable security agencies to intercept any data flowing through Nokia devices.

Related Stories:
Operators upgrade network to allow monitoring of BlackBerry services
Security issues: Blackberry-maker offers compromise solution

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 21, 2010)
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