After much discussion on the topic, finally Indian govt. has succeeded in getting the Telcos to intercept BlackBerry services in real time ahead of its 31st December deadline.
The DoT (Department of Telecom) had earlier set a December 31st deadline for legal real time interception of services from BlackBerry after its Canada based manufacturer RIM (Research In Motion) had provided the govt. with a solution to the same.
Initially, many companies like Tata and Bharti Airtel had shown reluctance in installing the software to provide interception of BlackBerry’s facility for the security agencies but have now agreed to test the equipment.
BlackBerry has more than a million subscribers availing its services in India, and it was asked to provide web browsing requirement in respect of BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) in consultation with TSPs (Telecom Service Providers) and their legal interception vendors. For this purpose RIM had agreed to set up a new server in Mumbai.
The first service provider to agree for compliance were Tata and Vodafone followed by the Bharti Airtel group who have also made an offer to the Department of Telecom that they’re ready to test the BB equipment.
The TSPs tried to get an extension on the 31st deadline but the reluctant Department of Telecom set them right and ensured that interception facilities came into effect before 31st December.
Earlier in a press statement, RIM had confirmed that it had recently delivered a resolution that would enable India’s wireless carriers in addressing their legal access requirements for their consumers messaging services, inclusive of BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) email and BBM (BlackBerry Messaging Service).
In a statement issued by the DoT, it has been mentioned that the legal access capability, which is now accessible to BlackBerry’s carrier partners in India, is in accordance with the standards set by the Indian government for the consumer messaging services which are offered by BlackBerry in Indian marketplace. But, they also stated that enabling the lawful access is not extensible to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
There was a time when these BlackBerry services were termed as a threat to the national security by Indian security agencies, and its provider Research In Motion was asked to provide a solution.
In accordance with this demand from Indian Government, RIM has now agreed to place one server in the city of Mumbai and has also stated that it would be compiled as per the requirements of various probe agencies after the security agencies red flagged BlackBerry services in India on the grounds of threats to national security as the intercepted formats were not in a readable format.
This news comes as good news for security agencies but also as another dent into user’s policy, but it is essential too, because let’s face it, not everybody uses them to just chat like us.