Seeks inclusion of users, government, service providers in drawing up solution

Canadian-firm Research In Motion has urged the Centre to set up a joint consultative forum to help evolve procedures to intercept its encrypted BlackBerry email and messenger services. The Centre has asked RIM to either provide a solution enabling its secured services to be monitored by the Indian law enforcement agencies by October 31, 2010 or face ban.

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, RIM has said that banning these services would be “counterproductive” and asserted that the concerns of the government and law enforcement agencies could only be effectively addressed in a wider dialogue between government and the industry.

“Singling out products like BlackBerry Enterprise Service in the present instance and imposing ban on such services would be futile and counterproductive…As this issue impacts the internet industry as a whole, we at RIM, therefore, earnestly request that a joint consultative forum, of government, users and providers of encrypted services, be established for collectively engaging and assisting the government to draw up procedures and processes that will be adhered to across the board to address the concerns of law enforcement agencies and the misuse of such technologies,” RIM vice-president Robert E. Crow said in the letter.

The ban would be futile as anyone who wanted to misuse Internet encrypted technology would shift to any one of the other numerous and freely available options. The step would be counterproductive as any ban or suspension of services such as the BES will affect information security and the efficiency of commercial and government organisations.

RIM has also said that it has provided options to LEAs within India's existing “techno-legal” framework to tackle the problem. RIM has said the BES uses standard technology which was no different from any of the other encryption products used to provide virtual private network on both wireless and wired networks.

In view of the concerns raised by Indian law enforcement agencies, the Union Home Ministry held meetings with RIM officials seeking access to its secured services.

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