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RIM helps Indian government access BlackBerry messages, email

News by Dan Seifert on Friday October 28, 2011.

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RIM has begun cooperating with the Indian government to give investigators access to users' email and messages that pass through RIM's servers. The company has set up a special facility in Mumbai to help the government, but it still is not providing access to enterprise email and messages.

India has threatened to shut down BlackBerry services in the country because it was unable to wiretap them to monitor for suspicious activity by citizens. RIM appeased the government's wants by setting up the special facility that handles requests from the government for access to email and messages for specific users. The government has to provide RIM with the name of the user that it wants to monitor, and then RIM can give them access to the decoded messages that are sent and received to the user's BlackBerry smartphone. The government is satisfied enough with this solution to withdraw its threat of shutting down the service, but it still wants closer access and control of the messages.

The one thing that RIM has been unable to provide the Indian government with is enterprise email and messages, as the keys to unlock those are not carried by RIM, but by each company that runs a BlackBerry network for its employees. Apparently, the government has less of a concern with enterprise messages as it had in the past, because it sees most of the growth in the use of BlackBerry devices in the consumer market.

RIM has released a statement on its cooperation with the government, saying "We are not operating under any deadlines and we believe the government of India is now applying its security policy in a consistent manner to all handset makers and service providers in India, which means that RIM should not be singled out any more than any other provider."

The company does not reveal its specific agreements with each country that asks for surveillance on its users. RIM's BlackBerry services are offered in 175 countries across the world. [via Wall Street Journal]

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About the author

Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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