Hardening its stance against BlackBerry for not providing a solution to intercept enterprise mail services, the government on Sunday said telecom operators will have to stop any such services that can not be monitored as per the satisfaction of law enforcement agencies.
BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been saying that it cannot provide access to the popular BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) as it does not possess any key and the security architecture is the same around the world.
“It is between the licensee (operators) to tell RIM that look if you can’t do this, you can’t use my network. It is as simple as that. I have only to deal with the licensee. I do not deal with RIM matters. I do not have any agreement with BlackBerry,” Union Home Secretary G K Pillai told PTI.
He noted this was in line with a condition in the licence agreement between the government and service providers that states, “Whoever uses your network, we must be able to intercept that in a form to the satisfaction of the law enforcement agency.”
Asked whether the government has extended the deadline of January 31 for RIM to provide a solution to the satisfaction of LEAs, Mr. Pillai said, “We have not extended the date, but it has not been terminated also.”
“Our aim is to make sure that whatever goes through our networks, we should be able, if required, intercept it... The issue is that we want that if you are using the network as per the licensing condition, there must be a provision for us to intercept... those, which we want to intercept and that must be readable and legible format.”
RIM vice-president (Industry, Government and University Relations) Robert E Crow, who was in India recently, had said, “There is no possibility of us providing any kind of a solution. There is no solution; there are no keys to be handed... It’s not possible to do so because the keys of the service are in possession of the corporate enterprises.”
However, the argument is not bought by the security establishment. The Home Secretary said, “Even messenger services — they all said we can’t do it... We can’t do it... Only when we said, okay, we are gonna close it down; they came and said here is the solution. I have a feeling... under pressure they’ll do it.”
There are over one million BlackBerry subscribers in India and the number is growing fast. Indian security agencies have been demanding access to all BlackBerry services as part of efforts to fight militancy and security threats over the Internet and through telephone communications.