Blackberry ControversyBLACKBERRY CONTROVERSY Ravi P. Agrahari (Science & Technology)
• The government has asked the National Security Advisor to find a way to monitor emails sent by Blackberry users.• This comes after the Canadian company, Research in Motion (RIM) that runs the Blackberry service refused to provide access as well is not ready to lower the encryption level as demanded by the Indian agencies. RIM maintains that by agreeing to the demands of the Indian agencies, the security of data will be compromised and could be easily hacked.• . Mandarins in Intelligence agencies, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Department of Telecommunication (DoT), had openly declared war on Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that provides the services globally.
BlackBerry’s reputation across the world is due tohigh level ‘encryption’ – means of converting dataand e-mails into algorithmic codes that travelthrough the network, which can be decoded intothe original form only by the intended addressee –that is guaranteed.Globally, the 128-bit standard is followed for allonline transactions, while RIM network uses themore advanced 256-level. Indian babus want thecompany to reduce this to a 40-bit encryption; thisis the level that Indian security agencies are capableof intercepting.
"Encryption with key lengths of 128 bits or longerprotects business communications and onlinetransactions from hackers, thieves and otherwrongdoers.If escrowed keys ever fall into the wrong hands,individual businesses and consumers would bedriven away from using the internet for private,commercial and confidential communications.
RIM came up with a way to let thegovernment spy on confidential mail. Aboutthe concerns raised over the fact that RIM’sservers are not located in India, the companyclarified that the data transferred overBlackBerry networks is agnostic to the locationof the server.
"The government of Canada fully supportsResearch in Motion and encourages thegovernment of India to treat all companies ina fair and equitable manner." This type of apositive role has, incidentally, never beenplayed by Indian Foreign Service on behalf ofbusiness houses.