India turns screw on RIM ban

India’s government has heaped pressure on RIM, giving it until the end of the month to enable monitoring of BlackBerry services before shutting applications down.
 
The government said the Canadian device vendor must work with local carriers to find a technical means of allowing security forces to read e-mail and instant messenger services by August 31, or risk the two applications being blocked in the country, WSJ.com reported.
 
It delivered the ultimatum to India’s Department of Telecommunications yesterday, despite already gaining access to BlackBerry internet, voice and SMS services.
 
A meeting also took place between RIM management and home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, WSJ.com said.
 
Any ban would reduce up to a million Indian BlackBerry owners to voice and web access only, FT.com said.
 
RIM is standing strong against India’s demands, stating it would only allow access to their data in the case of national security situations and under judicial oversight.
 
The vendor said carriers would need the technical means to limit their access only to the information a judge ordered, and that solution must not require changes to RIM’s existing security architecture.
 
However, the firm said it was trying to meet the demands of India and other countries mulling bans on BlackBerry services. RIM “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,” it stated.
 
RIM has come under intense pressure from several countries to open up its services to security forces, in a debate that has even grabbed the attention of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
 
The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Germany are all mulling bans of one kind or another.
 
RIM agreed to allow Saudi security forces to track its instant messenger service earlier this week.

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