Feeds

Indonesia puts RIM on two-week notice

Demands the possible, and the impossible

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Indonesian politicians are calling for RIM to provide lawful intercept and porno blocking, within two weeks, or face losing contact with the 1.5 million BlackBerry users in the country.

RIM has leapt to say that it would be delighted to do the latter, in the hope that its commitment will distract attention from the former requirement. Enabling lawful intercept to BlackBerry communications remains stubbornly impossible for technical, political, and commercial reasons.

Indonesia requires that internet service providers block access to pornographic content, as do those of most countries*, but because BlackBerry browsing is routed through RIM's servers in Canada, it is Canadian law that is applied. That should be easily fixed – placing a server in Indonesia resolves the issue – and RIM has reiterated how keen it is to comply with local laws in that respect.

But that's not going to help with the lawful intercept problem. BlackBerry messages are securely encrypted from the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to the handset, so interception is next to impossible. RIM can place a BES in Indonesia, but anyone running their own BES will bypass that and thus be able to communicate securely.

That's very hard for politicians to understand, so they call for local servers in the belief that it will solve all their problems. RIM could provide a back door into its BES software, perhaps for local use, but that would be commercial suicide for a company whose reputation rests on its security, not to mention that every other government would instantly demand similar concessions.

But that's not the politicians' problem, and RIM constantly faces an uphill battle getting governments to recognise the limitations inherent in its architecture. Politicians would much prefer to paint an uncooperative foreign company riding roughshod over local sensibilities, as the Jakarta Globe quotes:

"We have repeatedly asked [RIM] to [block pornography] and we have given them some time. If they keep delaying, we will shut down their operation here because they fail to comply with our laws," said the Communications and Information Technology Minister – which is fine with RIM who'll be happy to comply with that request.

But the Minister, and the paper, clearly thinks that blocking of pornography and interception of emails can be lumped together, and will be disappointed to discover that while one is reasonable and easy, the other is all but impossible. ®

* The UK, for example, separates mobile providers. Fixed ISPs are required to block child pornography, while wireless ISPs have to collect proof of age before permitting access to anything pornographic.

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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.