RIM Rebuffs Report, Can’t Give India Access To Encrypted E-mail Data

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) continues to struggle with the Indian government’s demand for full access to all data sent by the phones. Denying reports that it has agreed to allow access to its encrypted corporate data to Indian authorities, RIM on Thursday said unscrambling encrypted email on its devices is simply not technologically feasible.

RIM Rebuffs Report, Can't Give India Access To Encrypted Mobile Data

The Canadian phone manufacturer rebuffed a report by the Economic Times Of India, which said that the company would give Indian authorities full access to all data sent with BlackBerrys. According to the company, it is impossible to give access to e-mails sent by the phones because each user has a personal encryption key.

The report conveys the impression as if it is “somehow enabling access to data” transmitted through its business server system, RIM told the Canadian Press. “This is both false and technologically infeasible,” it said.

India has been seeking access to all encrypted communications as the terr0rists involved the 2008 Mumbai attack communicated with their handlers by using sophisticated technology. It wants the Canadian company to install a server in India to monitor this service.

This so-called “network data analysis system” is just a tool required to allow carriers in India to provide lawful access to its consumer services, including its instant messaging service, RIM was quoted as saying.

India has given RIM until Jan. 31 to provide access to all communications, or face being expelled from the country, which has an estimated 1 million Blackberry users. However, RIM, which has got two reprieves since August and assured a solution by Jan 31, is not willing to compromise on the privacy of this encrypted service which has made its smart phones a darling of businesses.

The company says it will give access to chat messages send by BlackBerry phones, according to the Guardian. India, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt say encrypted data sent from BlackBerry phones poses a security threat. The Indian government is particularly concerned about the use of encrypted services by militants, since security agencies cannot monitor the messages.

According to RIM, India’s demand for installing servers in the country is meaningless as all data remain encrypted at all times through all points of transfer between the BlackBerry enterprise server and client smartphones. The company said it was working with Indian authorities for allowing them access to its consumer services, including the highly popular BlackBerry messenger service.

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