Monday, January 24, 2011

Blackberry Messenger Service Now An E- Surveillance Tool In India

Research in motion (RIM) has been under tremendous pressure form Indian government to allow e-surveillance and interception of its Blackberry services. In order to safeguard its commercial interests in India, Blackberry has established a framework that would allow Indian intelligence agencies to monitor contents on its messenger service.

Blackberry has now asked the Indian government to issue a directive to the operators to connect to its new automated service that would allow such interceptions. However, this arrangement does not extend to the enterprise Virtual Private Network (VPN) solution, provided through the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) product.

RIM is still maintaining that there can be no change to the security architecture for BES in India or any other country as the decoding of BES emails by RIM is not technically possible. This is so because neither RIM nor the wireless operators are ever in possession of the customers' encryption keys.

India has presently no constitutionally valid phone tapping and lawful interception law. This practically means that Blackberry/RIM is supporting Indian government in its illegal phone tappings and interception exercises.

The BES of RIM is still out of the reach of Indian government because of technology alone. For other purposes as well, Blackberry users must use technology for self defence and to protect their civil liberties.

A research project named RIM Check has also been designed to gather information on how traffic exits the Blackberry network depending on the country in which the user is located. Those wish to analyse their Blackberry traffic to detect illegal e-surveillance by Indian government, can submit their data to this project.