back to article India cracks down on the Blackberry

The use of the humble Blackberry may be outlawed in India if Research in Motion fails to comply with the government’s strict security demands. India’s Department of Telecommunications is under parliamentary pressure to force Blackberry maker RIM to stop offering services in a highly encrypted format. Security agencies have …


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  1. John Sanders

    Poor RIM

    Screwed by the only thing they do well.

    The irony is that the media says "RIM in trouble over security concerns", when it is really the opposite.

  2. Col

    Is this the same RIM...

    ...who are apparently about to hand over information about their UK customers to the police?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Completely different scenario

      In the UK, RIM "cooperating with the police" (not further specified) probably means that the police will get RIM a court order and RIM will hand over the data requested in that order.

      The situation in India, UAE, Saudi etc is that the government wants complete intercept powers over all data, ie the capability to spy on any and all communications they want, without any involvement from RIM required. I'm not familiar with the judicial systems there but I'm willing to bet a fair amount that this does not involve any court orders, probable cause or independent oversight, simply some bloke in the security service doing so on a whim, hunch, random trawl, just because some steenkin' furriner is glanced at his daughter for more than 1 sec etc etc

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters


        I've got a sneaky feeling that the boffins in Cheltenham can read your Crackberry traffic any time they like.

  3. Mark 65

    Sounds like

    A nice bit of free advertising for RIM.

  4. David 45

    Pull out

    Just call their bluff and see how their commerce stands up. I can't see why firms that supply privacy and encryption methods have to bow down to these tyrannical governments and provide back-doors. Encryption means privacy. That's exactly why it was invented and no-one (not even governments) should have the right to by-pass it. What's the point of using it, if nosey government departments can eavesdrop on what might be commercial and trade secrets? It's just ripe for abuse and anyone who says it doesn't happen is in cloud-cuckoo land. I wouldn't mind betting that there are a few governmental Blackberries floating around. Are they also going to be open to the snoopers? I think not. All this governmental paranoia for control is getting completely put of hand and needs to be stopped.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Fundamental Right

      You obviously live (or were raised) in a country where civil rights such as the right to (reasonable) privacy are long ingrained. Not every country agrees with these rights, let alone has effective protections against them. Don't try to apply your views/beliefs to another country.

      When you choose to do business in a foreign country you implicitly accept to play by *their* rules.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        @AC 8:34gmt - Fundamental Right(wing)

        Yor're confused, you're getting "law" and "justice" mixed up.

        Just because something is lawful in some shithole of a country that has no respect for its citizens doesn’t mean that is just.

        There was a time in not too distant past when Jews had to wear yellow stars on their cloths to identify them as Jews, it was the law, but did that make it right?

        Once it becomes custom and practice to abuse a liberty it is very easy to move on to the next liberty and take that away, especially if authority figures are telling you its all right to do it (ref: Stanley Milgrams experiments on obedience).

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pull out

      so what you are trying to say is: Government in the west never tried to intercept VoIP, Phones calls, SMSs and emails? And they most certainly have not considered asking for backdoors into such services when that services is p2p and encrypted? How about getting a sealed court order to request for the details of tweeter/email/facebook accounts, never happened? Only those "tyrannical governments" ever thought of doing those kind of evil things?

      get off your high horse and look up "lawful interception"

    3. Is it me?

      It all depends.

      It's always been a function of government and law enforcement to listen in on the private communications of those suspected of anti-social or criminal activities in order that they can gather evidence, or interdict forthcoming events.

      Do you really want governments not to have that power? Do you really want criminals and terrorists to have that as an absolute right?

      Very, very few countries, have a security apparatus big enough to listen to every single message, all they can do it listen to chatter, and pick-up key words.

      In democracies, you need to get a court order, and show just cause to properly listen in to communications, but then who do you focus on, if you can't monitor the chatter.

      There has to be a balance between personal privacy and liberty, and the collective good, which is why we have politicians and the law, and the balance shifts. The riots in the UK are likely to make it easier to open BBM in the UK, so BB are doing the right thing by turning over data to prevent a badly and hastily formed blanket law forcing them too in the future.

      Oh and lets face it the bulk of BBM messages are probably banal and irrelevant to anything other than the sender and recipient.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge
        Thumb Down


        "It's always been a function of government and law enforcement ..."

        So what? Just because it has always been the case does not mean it's right. As you correctly point out, in modern democracies, intercepts can be made given probable cause, warrant, judicial oversight. That is a solution that I am happy with.

        There is NEVER any excuse to listen to the chatter. That is my conversations and yours. I don't buy into the "nothing to hide = nothing to fear" crap. Police forces have many other ways to gather leads without data mining everyone's conversations. Why not try some actual detective work rather than the lazy option of "listening to chatter"?

    4. grip

      You lost!

      Whoa! Chillax. Easy! Have a cuppa chai!

      You can imagine all kindsa straw men . - governmental blackberries, snooping on trade secrets etc - but when it comes to implementing policy, when things need to be written down , thankfully people are more educated and much more experienced than you. Instead of this arm-flailing, why don't you sit down and read governmental policies worldwide. Why don't you see how checks and balances are implemented before you scream murder !

      The Indian government is now passing a bill where Intelligence agencies are monitored by an all-party parliamentary panel. A record has to be maintained of all intercepts and can be viewed by everyone in the panel. Agencies will need approval before they intercept someone. That is the way it works. It does away with political misuse and does away with infringement of privacy.

      This bill is expected to passed in parliament as all political parties were brought in for the debate during framing.

      See? Arm-flailing - Zero, Policy Makers - One! You are losing!

      Have you see UK law on this BTW? If you are an ISP, you have certain regulations you have to comply to regarding terrorism. I bet you have never seen those documents. Ask BSKYB or TalkTalk and they will tell you .

      See? Arm-flailing - Zero, Policy Makers - Two! You are losing!

      The issue here is about terrorism emanating from a famous neighbour. And intelligence agencies rely on various platforms and methods - humint, mobile intercepts, and monitoring activity on the Internet. Did you know that the US/India//EU/UK/ share information on possible terrorist plans? When the police knock on doors on Bradford. do you really think they decice to choose some random person? It relies on a vast network where information is shared. Allowing channels to go unnoticed gives bad people a chance to organize horrific things.

      This government "paranaioa" that you describe is hardly that. It is based on sound policies and fair use. And goevernments worldwide have different priorities than you. And the government always wins - the price you pay for enjoying security and law.

      See? Arm-flailing - Zero, Policy Makers - Three ! Three strikes - you LOST!

      And remember : governments worldwide have different priorities than you. And the government always wins - the price you pay for enjoying security and law. Unfair? possibly. It is easy on the brain when you accept these and move on.

      >> anyone who says it doesn't happen is in cloud cuckoo

      Some debating skills you have. <rolleyes>

  5. asdf

    RIM is so 2006

    RIM is still kicking I guess. Seen more recent news out of them than I have seen in months.

  6. ceebee

    pressure will build...

    With the riots in London I can see pressure on RIM in the UK, at least, to open its messaging and mail platforms.

    Tough call... for both RIM, police forces, politicians and the public.... I offer no answers but we do need to debate privacy in the digital era for more than has occurred up til now.

    Creeping government regulation and corporate invasion of personal privacy needs proper review.... something neither governments nor business has been too keen to do.

  7. The Dodoman

    Why not also ban...

    every HTTP SSL certificate....

  8. dave 46

    this is a technical issue, not legal or moral

    RIM are happy to provide anything they can to facilitate lawful intercept (lawful in the relevant jurisdiction).

    The problem is people with their own enterprise servers who have their own encryption keys - RIM can't decrypt that.

    If they could, they already would have, this has nothing to do with standing up to tyrants.

    1. Velv
      Big Brother

      New Issue

      Correction: It *WAS* a technical issue.

      Many governments are now demanding that all these private systems have the ability to permit lawful interception. Some governments are more public about it than others, but you can be that every single government is secretly lobbying to have a way in to the private BES (and every other "secure" service.

      Just because your government isn't making an arse of itself publicly demanding access doesn't mean they aren't trying to intercept your messages.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      I wonder what will happen....

      ...when, just like file sharing moved from central servers to P2P, the same starts happening with encryption. What happens when the technology is far enough advanced that I, and everyone else, can run a P2P distributed encryption server on my smartphone? (I don't know about the technicalities, please give a shout if this idea is technically impossible).

  9. Graham Bartlett

    Third world politics

    Guess which countries' politicians asked for too much in bribes, got turned down, and are now throwing their little hissy fits.

    Indian security? Don't make me laugh.

    1. grip

      Expense scandal - noble pursuit?

      Ah the noble British MPs - expenses scandal is a noble pursuit or what?

      1. Ru

        Tsk tsk.

        The expenses scandal has nothing to do with bribery, only greed.

        They are often closely linked, but they are distinct. Billing your second home to the taxpayers to house your secret boyfriend? Not quite the same as accepting a few hundred grand as a backhander from a large corporation who'd like preferential treatment.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Just how cr*p do you have to be not to be able to crack the security?

    Just employ the NOTW crew and Glen Mulcaire...job done.

  11. lerietaylor

    ok.. so..

    I'm guessing they don't have a problem cracking or handling Android, iPhone or other popular mobile encryptiona?

  12. Babai

    US has more interception capability than any other country

    It may be true for some country which does not get frequent suicide bomber/car bomb explosion.

    But for some countries, it is essential.

    Remember even US has set up many huge data center to intercept any email/voice call/sms/text message/chat/social network post after 9-11 incident.

    It has a long history, since World War II (German enigma decryption team/machine).

    So before you bark on other country's policy, think about your country first, what it does to protect its citizen.

  13. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    Fixed for you.

    It was Alan Turing in Bletchley Park in UK that cracked the enigma code.

  14. Buzzby
    Big Brother


    The poles first cracked the enigma. Turing did do a lot. He mechanised the cracking with the Bombe.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Point missed

    That RIM have been telling the Indian Government that, however much they might like to help and assist in every way possible, they are *not capable,* of breaking the encryption and it is impossible for them to comply, even if they really wanted to.

    So... the technology is suddenly different in London, Birmingham, etc?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Just for the Record

      It has been pointed out to me on another thread that I have a few misunderstandings on this.

      If not quite a few even.

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