The BBM tapping solution provided by Research In Motion (RIM) has been found seemingly satisfactory by the Department of Telecom,and the Ministry of Home Affairs is working out the modality for direct tapping of BBMs instead of sending requests to RIM for surveillance.
The server has been inspected by a team of officers and permission for direct linkage for lawful interception was expected to be issued shortly, DoT informed Home Secretary R K Singh end-December. It said that RIM has installed a dedicated server at Mumbai and a similar arrangement would be prescribed to Nokia for intercepting its Pushmail.
The MHA had preferred an arrangement where probe agencies could decode messages themselves so that they could conduct surveillance without disclosing the names of suspects to RIM.
Next on the agenda is interception of emails through Yahoo,Hushmail and Gmail with the MHA directing the DoT to ask the service providers to ensure that all emails accessed from India should be routed through servers located in India.
At present,these secure messaging service providers automatically locate all email accounts registered in India to the Indian server,but accounts registered abroad and subsequently accessed from India get routed through servers outside India.
Conversations through Skype,the DoT said,would soon get intercepted with the Microsoft Corp-owned company planning to set up India-centric software. This would address the current concerns significantly.
However,it said that demand for interception and decoding of BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) was being dropped as the Intelligence Bureau had observed that corporate emails and messaging through BES were limited between employees of a company and hence,not of high concern for security/intelligence agencies. But as a safety measure,the IB has directed the DoT to obtain the list and location of the nearly 5,000 BES by this month-end.
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had met Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble to discuss intercept mechanism for data transferred through these platforms to fight militancy and security threats over the Internet and through telephones.