Despite India server, IB unable to snoop into Nokia e-mail service

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on June 14, 2011

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has told the Department of Telecom that it still cannot access e-mail services on Nokia handsets despite the Finnish company setting up a local server in the country.

Nokia had conducted demonstrations to show monitoring capabilities but IB officers found major shortcomings with the system.

“During the demonstration, it was noticed that the originating IP address of all e-mails sent through Nokia's messaging service was that of Nokia infrastructure and not the actual IP address of the sender. This is unacceptable from the law enforcement agency point of view as identification of the person who sent the e-mail would not be possible without the actual IP address,” said a top Government source.

IB has told the DoT to block Nokia messaging services in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East immediately. Over the past two years security agencies have also raised concerns about other encrypted services such as those offered on BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

The Home Ministry has asked the DoT to either ban these services or ask the operators to set up monitoring systems. However, the DoT has taken a view that the Home Ministry should build its own capability to snoop into telecom services instead of putting the onus on operators and service providers. The DoT has asked the security agencies to study systems set up by developed countries such as the US to develop know-how.

Published on June 14, 2011

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