After a long drawn battle with the Indian authorities, Research In Motion (RIM) seems to have finally given in and has set up a server in Mumbai, India to provide security agencies access to its BlackBerry Messenger services, reports The Hindu Business Line. The Ministry of Communications had earlier stated that the security agencies were able to access BlackBerry services through the interception and monitoring facilities provided by the telecom service provider.
Corporate Privacy? What’s surprising though is the fact that the Indian government will apparently get a backdoor entry access to corporate emails in 5,000 enterprises using BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) across the country over the next two-three months, as noted by Livemint. The report indicates that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has to furnish a list of companies from whom the keys have to be acquired and they will be provided with a mechanism to access it.
Now this raises some serious issues. Firstly, we don’t understand why government authorities really need to intercept corporate emails since BES is primarily used by employees for inter-office communication. The main premise of interception is to track messages that may lead to terrorists or related activity. This on the other hand would mean that the government would get access to privileged information.
If there is a data leak of any sort, it could have some serious repercussions on enterprises including intellectual property theft and financial losses. Consequentially, this leak could also cause a major financial setback to RIM if companies start abandoning BES and other BlackBerry services citing security issues.
The company’s fortunes have been dipping continuously in the handset business and its only solace has been the software segment, which is possibly one of the reasons behind the launch of Fusion Device Management Suite, which allows enterprise customers to manage multiple devices including mobile phones and tablets running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, and the reason behind it considering to license the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system to other original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s).
Whats Next? Following success with RIM, DoT now reportedly intends to seek access from other messaging platforms like Nokia’s intellisync e-mail, Microsoft’s Exchange active sync, Motorola’s mobile messaging and Seven network e-mail service, as noted by The Hindu BusinessLine.