The ongoing Indian BlackBerry saga has taken another strange turn today, with various reports – apparently fuelled by the Indian government – that the Canadian company has provided the department of telecommunications with a “monitoring solution” that will address its concerns regarding messaging encryption. However, according to The Times of India, the whole “solution” is one big case of smoke and mirrors: their source at RIM says that all the company has done is point the Indian government in the direction of servers physically within the country, and suggested that they talk to them direct.
What they haven’t done is hand over encryption keys, given the government any sort of back-door access into secure messaging, or addressed the issue of servers that are physically outside of India. The RIM source claims that the government announcement was pretty much an attempt to save face:
“RIM has made certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies and this would be operationalised immediately. The feasibility of the solutions offered would be assessed thereafter,” Indian Home Ministry statement
The end result is that the department of telecommunications will be “assessing” RIM’s suggestions over the next two months, in effect extending the deadline they challenged the Canadian company with (and which, originally, would have been up tomorrow) but leaving the underlying issue entirely unchanged. Good news for BlackBerry users, perhaps, but two more months of this odd dance between a government department and RIM themselves.