Toughening its stance, the Centre on Thursday asked Research In Motion (RIM), the Canada-based makers of BlackBerry smartphones, as well as the Indian operators providing its services to address its security-related concerns by August 31.
“If a technical solution is not provided by August 31, 2010, the government will review the position and take steps to block … BlackBerry Enterprise Service and BlackBerry Messenger Service from the network,” a Union Home Ministry spokesperson said after a high-level meeting chaired by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.
After the meeting, Mr. Pillai asked Telecom Secretary P.J. Thomas to convey to RIM and mobile operators that a technical solution must be made available for lawful interception of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and Blackberry Messenger Service (BMS) or its services will be blocked from September 1. Representatives of the Department of Telecommunications and Central security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), a premier scientific organisation under the National Security Adviser, were present at the meeting.
“DoT has been asked to convey to service providers and RIM that the BES and messenger services be made accessible to Legal Enforcement Agencies (LEA)... As of now voicemail, SMS and BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) have been made available to the LEA,” the spokesman said.
A senior RIM official made a “courtesy call” on Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram before the high-level meeting.
BES and BMS allow communication between BlackBerry users in an encrypted form. These messages use complex encryption codes as they travel between the server and the device. RIM officials claim that only its users can access these messages and they themselves don't have the access codes.