RIM Bows Down To India Too After UAE & Saudi Arabia

by Ferman Aziz

BlackBerry manufacturers RIM have been in the news for a while now regarding their on going dispute with several countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, India) who want access to the encrypted data sent and received on BlackBerry smartphones. UAE and Saudi Arabia had announced a ban already while they were still holding talks with RIM and the Indians were threatening to do the same. Needless to say, RIM first agreed to provide access to the Arab states and now Reuters are reporting that the Canada based smartphone manufacturers have assured India that they will provide a “technical solution” sometime next week. The Indian government is keeping mum on the subject with a government source simply saying that its “technical team will evaluate if it works.”

Though RIM has agreed to work out a solution with the above three countries, it is still remaining defiant on some points. The company issued a customer update that outlines the four main principles that govern the capabilities it provides to carriers for “lawful access purposes.” Here are the points that RIM is sending out to the world:

1. The carriers’ capabilities be limited to the strict context of lawful access and national security requirements as governed by the country’s judicial oversight and rules of law.

2. The carriers’ capabilities must be technology and vendor neutral, allowing no greater access to BlackBerry consumer services than the carriers and regulators already impose on RIM’s competitors and other similar communications technology companies.

3. No changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys. Also driving RIM’s position is the fact that strong encryption is a fundamental commercial requirement for any country to attract and maintain international business anyway and similarly strong encryption is currently used pervasively in traditional VPNs on both wired and wireless networks in order to protect corporate and government communications.

4. RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries.

If the 4th point is indeed true then what is RIM going to do about its promise to UAE, Saudi Arabia and India? It might have to face a ban and hence lose a huge market and if it does relent, it might open the flood gates for the rest of the world to follow with similar demands. It’s a tricky situation and let’s see how RIM comes out on the other end of the tunnel.

[via Engadget]

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