Indian cellcos ready for BlackBerry intercepts
Indian operators are reportedly ready to intercept BlackBerry communications for the nation's security agencies, despite concerns that the new procedure itself is not secure.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel told the telecom ministry they are ready to comply with orders to allow security officials to monitor BlackBerry messages, ministry sources told the Economic Times.
State-owned BSNL has also indicated it is in compliance, but Sistema Shyam and MTNL have not yet upgraded their systems.
At least one cellco, Reliance, has also written to the department expressing concern the monitoring process could expose the intercepted data to leaks over the internet, ET's sources said.
The proposed security system would require RIM to push messages to operator’s PCs via the internet, which would then be sent to India's Lawful Interception System for decoding and then sent back to the computer.
Because the process would leave unencrypted data on a computer with an internet connection, RCom is reportedly concerned that the data will not be secure from those not legally authorized to view it.
RIM has repeatedly claimed it lacks the ability to directly decode its encrypted BlackBerry e-mail and messaging services.
India first threatened to ban BlackBerry services in August unless RIM enabled state surveillance of encrypted email and IM conversations, citing concerns the services could be used to organize terror attacks with impunity.
If the system implemented by Indian operators fails to satisfy intelligence agencies, RIM will have until the end of January to come up with an alternative or the ban will be enforced.