Admitting that the controversy over security has impacted its business in India, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion on Tuesday said it will provide a final solution for lawful interception of BlackBerry Messenger Service by January next year.
The project is likely to be completed by the end of January 2011. With regard to BlackBerry’s Enterprise Mail Service, however, the company has asserted that it has no ability to provide customers’ encryption keys, officials said.
Robert E. Crow, Vice-President, Industry, Government and University Relations, RIM, met Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday and explained the status of its project.
“We are in India for the long run. We have 7,000 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) developing on BlackBerry applications... We want to build on this base,” Mr. Crow told PTI.
Asked about the Indian market potential for RIM, he said, “India is certainly one of the top five markets for future growth and given the technical capabilities, there lies a huge potential for growth.”
Company officials also claimed there was no deadline from the government and it was RIM that had said it would work with operators to ensure that security agencies are able to intercept BlackBerry Messenger data.
Data on the BlackBerry-to-BlackBerry Messenger service is scrambled and not encrypted. The operators need to upgrade their networks to unscramble it and as far as RIM is concerned, it would complete the project by January next year.
The officials sought to dispel fears that BlackBerry services would be banned in India due to security concerns and said their discussions with the government were very positive and progressive and they hoped to resolve outstanding concerns to mutual satisfaction.
“Please rest assured that RIM continues to be as cooperative as possible with the government in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements while also preserving the legitimate security needs of corporations,” the company had said in a statement.
The rumours about BlackBerry stem from the fact that the Indian government had earlier asked RIM to provide complete access to data transmitted using its handsets or face a ban.
RIM, however, asserted that there were no changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumours, the security architecture was the same around the world and RIM truly had no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys.
BlackBerry has over one million subscribers in India, which is one of its fastest growing markets in the world in terms of new subscriber additions.
The Canada-based company made it clear that its security systems are still cutting edge, saying, “RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that do not include special deals for specific countries.”