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Updated: August 18, 2010 19:34 IST

BlackBerry services can be monitored through ISPs, says DoT

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The Telecom Ministry has written to the Union Home Ministry that the BlackBerry service could be monitored with the help of Internet operators.
AP The Telecom Ministry has written to the Union Home Ministry that the BlackBerry service could be monitored with the help of Internet operators.

Amid mounting pressure from the Home Ministry on the BlackBerry issue, the Telecom Ministry said the service could be monitored with the help of Internet operators.

“Enterprise mail services offered on BlackBerry platform and other services provided on Virtual Private Network (VPN)... can possibly be monitored by feeding back a clear email from the enterprise email server to the monitoring system located at each of the Internet Service Provider’s premises,” DoT said in its communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

According to the DoT, the feasibility of the solution will be explored after having discussion with the Intelligence Bureau and the ISPs.

The suggestion comes amid ongoing meetings between the Home Ministry, security agencies and the Canadian firm Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry that operates on networks of other telecom service providers.

RIM, the DoT officials said, is noncommittal to the possibility of locating a server or servers at ISP premises on the ground of technical non-feasibility of such a solution.

After several rounds of discussions with RIM, the Ministry of Home Affairs has given an August 31 deadline to the Canadian company to give solution to intercept the enterprise mails and other services like BlackBerry messenger or else the services would be stopped here.

BlackBerry has about a million subscribers in India and the services are growing. Nine telecom operators including government owned BSNL and MTNL, Airtel, Vodafone, RCom and the Tatas offer BlackBerry services.

The DoT has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to check the position as stated by RIM with respect to interception and monitoring of various services provided on BlackBerry platform.

In case this solution was not acceptable to the Ministry of Home Affairs and security agencies, the DoT would have no option but to ask the operators not to offer the enterprise email services on BlackBerry platform.

Meanwhile, sources said that the technology being offered by Canadian firm RIM is likely to be put under test by the security agencies tomorrow.

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