Raghava M.

280 traffic police officers using BlackBerry

technology-powered devices

Police launched use of BlackBerry-enabled devices in June 2007

BANGALORE: The Union Communication Ministry’s decision not to ban the BlackBerry services for the time being has come as a relief for the city traffic police, who are using the service for online registration of cases related to traffic offences. The Union Home Ministry had sought to check the use of BlackBerry services citing national security concerns.

As many as 280 traffic police officers have been using the BlackBerry technology-powered handheld computers and wireless printers to book cases for offences such as jumping traffic signals, drunken driving, rash driving and driving without licence. Airtel and Telebrahma and Thematics are providing the technical support.

Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja said there were no plans to ban the use of BlackBerry services in India. Mr. Raja said: “There was no need to ban the BlackBerry operations, but we need to look into its security aspects as nation’s security is of paramount importance. We will discuss the issue in the Telecom Commission.”

He said this following the Union Home Ministry’s letter to Department of Telecom on the use of BlackBerry phones, a product of Canadian firm “Research In Motion” (RIM). The Home Ministry had sought access to all communications made through the BlackBerry at any given time, which is currently not done as the device works through a server and data is transferred in an encrypted format. The Ministry had denied permission to Tata Teleservices to launch the services due to security concerns.

No intimation

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) Praveen Sood said: “Till now we have not received any intimation from the service provider about interruption in the service.”

Mr. Sood told The Hindu that the BlackBerry devices were being used by the traffic police for “specific and limited purpose” and was not likely to be affected.

It was in June 2007 that the city police launched the use of BlackBerry-enabled devices and wireless printers for booking cases for traffic offences as a part of the B-TRAC 2010 project. This was done to replace the system of manually issuing challans for collecting fine at the place of offence. With the BlackBerry devices, police officers have been issuing challans at the spot that indicates the exact fine amount that needs to be paid. These devices will be enabled to take action against those who repeat the offences.

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