Feeds

RIM CEO says lawful intercept is not his problem

Governments should ask companies for the keys

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

RIM would be happy to help companies hand encryption keys to national governments, according to CEO Jim Balsillie who reckons that's the ideal solution to the lawful-intercept problem.

Governments should ask companies for their encryption keys, and keep a central register to enable legal interception of communications, according to Jim Balsillie who says that RIM would be happy to modify its software to integrate with such a register, though it's not prepared to weaken the encryption itself.

Governments are having a hard time with RIM's BlackBerry devices, which provide end-to-end encryption beyond the wit of all but the best-funded law-enforcement department. Several countries have demanded that RIM provide a technical solution for lawful intercept of communications, with India still planning to cut off BlackBerry communications on October 11 if it doesn't come across with the goods.

For BlackBerry customers relying on RIM-hosted e-mail, that's possible by locating the server within the user's country. But the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) encrypts communication from the office to the handset using encryption keys which aren't shared with RIM, or anyone else.

Governments would like a master key of some sort, or copies of all the individual keys, both of which they've formerly requested, but neither of which RIM is able to provide without changing the platform's architecture and/or critically weakening the cryptography used - either of which would cost the company dearly.

Thus the suggestion that a national registry could be set up, with BES users in concerned countries being required to configure their installations to send off copies of the keys generated. This puts the emphasis on citizens and makes it clear to end users that it's their elected* government that's demanding access, not RIM.

That's unlikely to mollify the Indian government, or anyone else, and the fact that Jim Balsillie is proposing it now bodes badly for next month.

At this point, two weeks before the deadline, the parties should be negotiating the details, not proposing entirely-new options. This news suggests that RIM is still searching for a solution acceptable to the politicians, or publicising the solutions it's already proposed, while time is rapidly running out. ®

* Where applicable.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.