Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, has denied the claims that the company has handed over encryption keys for its secure enterprise services to the Indian government, reports The Wall Street Journal.
This follows a report by The EconomicTimes which had claimed that RIM has demonstrated a solution developed by a firm called Verint, which could intercept messages and emails exchanged between BlackBerry handsets, and make these encrypted communications available in a readable format to Indian security agencies. The report claimed that a telecom department official had also confirmed that interception of corporate communications would be a part of the solution offered by the Canadian smartphone maker.
Denying claims that it has granted access to the government with encryption keys to its BES and BBM service, RIM claimed that it has offered a lawful access solution to the government which will help all telecom service providers in India to comply with the laws, although this solution doesn’t include secure BlackBerry enterprise communications.
In February 2012, RIM had set up a server in Mumbai, India to provide security agencies access to its BlackBerry Messenger services, after a long-drawn battle with the Indian authorities. The Ministry of Communications had also earlier stated that the security agencies were able to access BlackBerry services through the interception and monitoring facilities provided by the telecom service provider.
However, a similar Livemint report had stated 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 and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had to just furnish a list of companies from whom the keys have to be acquired following which, they will be provided with a mechanism to access it.
As we had stated earlier, this move could have some serious repercussions on the enterprise segment including intellectual property theft and financial losses, in case there was a data leak of any sort, and as a consequence, it could lead to a major financial setback for RIM if companies started abandoning BES and other BlackBerry services citing security issues. The company’s market share in the handset business has been constantly dipping over the past year and it has also been struggling to keep up the pace with other smartphone platforms out there.
Earlier in the week, CEO Thorsten Heins also stated that it was looking to license BlackBerry 10 operating system to multiple handset manufacturers like Sony or Samsung. Now it would be a totally different ball game if these OEMs would be interested in investing in a new untested OS with no established eco-system except for RIM’s messaging legacy, although the enterprise segment is quite lucrative, as we had stated earlier.
By Apurva Chaudhary and Vikas SN
Blackberry’s India Issues Resolved? Whither Transparency?
Indian Govt Asks ISPs & Telcos To Install Interception Equipment; Testing BlackBerry Interception
RIM Sets Up Server In India Paving The Way For BBM,BES Interception