October 29, 2010 5:37:38 pm
BlackBerry smartphone makers on Friday assured the government that it would provide “final solution” to legal interception to its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) services by January 31 next year but chose to remain silent on its enterprise email facility.
A Home Ministry spokesman on Friday issued a statement that discussions were on between Canadian-manufacturer of the smartphone — Research In Motion (RIM) — with the government on the issue of providing access for lawful interception.
“RIM has set up an interim arrangement for lawful interception of BBM services and also assured the government that they will provide the final solution for the lawful interception of BBM services by January 31,2011,” the spokesman said adding accordingly,the BBM services will continue to be available.
The government had earlier extended the deadline to BlackBerry phone makers for providing a final solution by December 31 on giving access to security agencies to its popular messenger and enterprise services.
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The Government first extended the original August 31 deadline to October 31.
The decision to give some more time was taken by the Home Ministry after a meeting with representatives of RIM and the Ministry of Telecom,official sources said.
There are around one million BlackBerry subscribers in India.
According to the licensing conditions,service providers are liable to put in a mechanism allowing security agencies to intercept any conversation or message of any subscriber whenever required.
The smart phone makers have,however,informed the government that they could not provide any technology on intercepting the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES),which has also been under constant watch of the security agencies,the sources said.
The government has asked technical committees of Department of Telecom and National Technical Research Organisations to give their suggestions on the BES before a decision could be taken,they said.
As of now,voicemail,SMS and BlackBerry Internet Services have been made available to law enforcement agencies.
BlackBerry had earlier written a letter to the Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekar cautioning the government that any ban of their core services will be counterproductive and futile and instead suggested that a joint consultative forum be formed to evolve procedures to intercept these services.
“Singling out products like BES in the present instance and imposing ban on such services would be futile and counterproductive,” Vice President of RIM Robert E Crow had said in the letter sent in September this year.
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