Feeds

India puts threatened BlackBerry ban on paper

RIM promises to explain how hard things are

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

RIM will be talking to the Indian government this week - trying to explain just how difficult it is to intercept encrypted communications, while promising to do just that.

The Indian government has already said that if it can't intercept BlackBerry messages by the end of the month it will ask network operators to cut off the service, and now it has put that into writing with a formal request to the network operators charging them to implement a solution:

"We have received a letter ... asking us to ensure that legal intervention capability is put in place for BlackBerry services by 31 August 2010," said Tata, one of the companies that received the missive.

It's the network operators who are responsible for imposing some sort of lawful intercept capability, as it is in most countries, but Reuters reports that RIM will be in meetings with the Indian government this week to try and explain just why it's so complicated.

The Indians want a copy of the much-discussed "master key" that will enable them to intercept messages sent and received on BlackBerry phones. The only problem is that this mythical Rosetta stone just doesn't exist - there is no master key.

When the customer is using a BlackBerry Enterprise server then the only reliable option is to listen in at the ends of the connection, ie the server or the handset. The encryption used makes intercepting the message in transit prohibitively expensive.

Users who don't run their own Enterprise Server are reliant on servers run by RIM, which are subject to the lawful interception rules of the country in which they are located.

RIM has servers around the world, including the UK, which is nice for countries that have them and can therefore legally intercept all sorts of traffic, but it's less good for countries without servers who are reduced to trying to listen in at the handset end.

Reuters quotes an Indian government source explaining that RIM has promised access to non-Enterprise users by the end of the month, and will be talking to the government about access to Enterprise users too - though we can't help wondering if that talking will largely consist of RIM explaining various cryptographic concepts to sceptical politicians.

India had negotiated with RIM, but has seen that threatening the firm works much better. There are more than a million BlackBerry users in India, and it's too important a market for RIM to ignore, and it can always argue that having local servers make more sense anyway.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.