Indian government close to implementing BlackBerry surveillance

Apr 9, 2012
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RIM has run into trouble before with local governments over BlackBerry messenger. The company managed to avoid a ban of BlackBerry services in the UAE and India back in 2010 when it began cooperating with local telcos. India Today reports that the Indian government is almost ready to begin snooping on BBM logs, with the plan “up and running soon.”

That doesn’t mean all BBM chats will be automatically monitored. Law enforcement bodies would need a wiretap warrant in order to access messages that pass through RIMs server which currently resides in Mumbai. A spokesperson for RIM said that “We are holding talks with the government, but there has been no issue from our side regarding accessibility to BBM services ever since our server was installed in the country."

The Intelligence Bureau isn’t worried about messages that pass through BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, noting that conversations that take place there typically happen between company employees. The agency says they need access to BBM chats as part of a wider scope against terrorism, in the hope that it might prevent future attacks.

The process to intercept a message doesn’t sound like it would lend itself well to a time critical situation, though. A security agency would have to be granted permission to tap an individual’s BBM pin from the Union Home Ministry, then send a request to the carrier in order to access the necessary data. The Department of Telecommunications is considering applying the same policy to Nokia’s Push Mail service, although iOS and Android remain unaffected due to their traditional security methods.

[via Electronista]


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