Research in Motion (RIM) has been struggling with several foreign countries during the past few weeks over the security of BlackBerry devices. India is one of the countries that has been fighting RIM to loosen security so the government can monitor e-mail messages.
RIM and India have been making progress in working out a deal. India requested to monitor encrypted corporate e-mail and messages sent over BlackBerry messenger. Indian officials, amongst officials in other countries such as the United Arab Emirates, are concerned about terrorist plans being discussed over the BlackBerry devices. The Indian law allows law enforcement officials to monitor voice and data communications to discover crime activity. Indian officials can already monitor consumer e-mails, but corporate e-mail accounts are protected by RIM. India set an Aug. 31 deadline for the plan. If RIM fails to cooperate with them, all Blackberry corporate services will be shut down.
RIM is trying to meet India’s deadline and RIM officials hope to find a way for the government to monitor the corporate messages appropriately. RIM said that it will not directly provide BlackBerry messages for corporate e-mail but instead would give the names of corporations with unencrypted messages. India could then seek legal measures to access the messages. Rajan Mathews, the director general of Cellular Operators Association of India, said that RIM said “we can help identify the enterprise and location of the enterprise, but then you have to go to the enterprise.”
If India accepts RIM’s proposal, then RIM would be able to live up to its standards of protecting its customers privacy because it will not directly help the governments decrypt corporate e-mail messages. RIM and BlackBerry customers rely on their promise of security, so this way RIM still maintains its reputation.
India is an expanding market that would dramatically affect RIM’s revenue if BlackBerry devices are banned. There are approximately one million BlackBerry users in India and the BlackBerry’s popularity is still growing. India is the second largest wireless market, behind China, in the world. Therefore, it is very important for RIM to maintain a good relationship with the Indian government.
A final agreement has not been made but the plans are in motion. Presumably, by August 31, 2010 a final decision will be made between RIM and India.
If you are interested in reading more about RIM’s security struggle with other foreign countries, click here.