RIM Calls Report Of BlackBerry Message Interception In India Bogus


Reports surfaced on Tuesday that RIM said it will comply with India officials' request that it intercept BlackBerry message data. RIM, however, released a statement denying the claim.

One report, published in The India Times on Tuesday, said that RIM is working with Indian carriers and cloud computing providers to capture BlackBerry messaging data. The report said RIM had found a "lawful" way to intercept the data.

"This is both false and technologically infeasible," the company said in a statement e-mailed to Total Telecom refuting The India Times story.

RIM representatives did not respond to requests from CRN seeking comment, but in a similar statement to PCMag.com, RIM said that the report "contains inaccurate and misleading information, presumably as a result of confusion over terminology and a lack of understanding about the different security models inherent in BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)."

RIM added in that statement that there is no change in its security model and that Indian officials have accepted that RIM will not adjust its security measures to enable monitoring and interception.

"The government of India has in fact accepted and acknowledged that any concerns about the use of strong encryption for corporate and government data is not a matter specific to BlackBerry and that lawful access to such encrypted data is actually an industry matter," RIM said, later adding that the report might have been confused and believed that a tool that lets carriers provide access to RIM consumer services would enable them to intercept messages.

The debunked report of RIM's move to the cloud comes as officials in India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates demand access to encrypted BlackBerry e-mail and messaging services out of fear that the private messages cloud be used by terrorist operations.

The India Times, citing a letter from RIM to the Indian government, reported that RIM said its messaging infrastructure is ready to receive and process through the cloud computing system, which will lawfully BlackBerry messaging data from Indian service providers. The report notes that RIM had been working under a January 31, 2011 deadline to provide a final solution for the lawful interception of BlackBerry messaging services. The India Times report added that India's Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Intelligence Bureau to validate the technology being offered by RIM.

Last year India, Saudi Arabia and UAE threatened to suspend BlackBerry service. At the time, the UAE said that BlackBerry data traverses RIM services outside of the country and can't be monitored by the government. In August, the UAE said it would ban BlackBerry services like e-mail, messaging and Web browsing by October if a solution was not offered. The UAE backed down from its threats after reaching an agreement with RIM.