Over the course of the last couple of weeks, Research In Motion has been in some troubled water over their BlackBerry devices, and how they access encrypted information. It started with the UAE and Saudia Arabia, but then it quickly spilled over to other countries. The loudest of which, most recently, being India. There were reports, as recent as today, that claimed RIM was being stalwart in their whole “not backing down” position to letting these countries access encrypted data, but Reuters is now reporting that, in fact, RIM is indeed working on some “technical solutions.”
It’s unclear at this point whether or not these solutions are the same ones that RIM worked out with Saudia Arabia recently, but it is clear that the house that built BlackBerry only has until August 31st to get it cleared up. And, just as RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis suggested, about the whole Internet being encrypted, the report also claims that India has concerns regarding Gmail and Skype, but wasn’t able to provide any further details on this last issue.
In the mean time, while RIM works on their solutions and India’s technical team waits to test to see if it works for their standards, RIM has released a customer update, that outlines their four main principles in which governs the capabilities of wireless carriers for lawful access purposes. Check it out below, especially if you’re a BlackBerry owner.
RIM’s Four Principles
In response to the statement published today by the Government of India, and further to RIM’s Customer Update dated August 2, RIM wishes to provide this additional information to its customers. Although RIM cannot disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government, RIM assures its customers that it genuinely tries to be as cooperative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations. RIM has drawn a firm line by insisting that any capabilities it provides to carriers for “lawful” access purposes be limited by four main principles:
1. The carriers’ capabilities be limited to the strict context of lawful access and national security requirements as governed by the country’s judicial oversight and rules of law.
2. The carriers’ capabilities must be technology and vendor neutral, allowing no greater access to BlackBerry consumer services than the carriers and regulators already impose on RIM’s competitors and other similar communications technology companies.
3. No changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys. Also driving RIM’s position is the fact that strong encryption is a fundamental commercial requirement for any country to attract and maintain international business anyway and similarly strong encryption is currently used pervasively in traditional VPNs on both wired and wireless networks in order to protect corporate and government communications.
4. RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries.