Bappa's Feed
Aug 13, 2010

India:Google,Skype,RIM must meet security needs

NEW DELHI, Aug 13 (Reuters) – India will go after any company, including Google, after cracking down on BlackBerry in its quest to keep the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market safe from militants and cyber spying, a government source said on Friday.

India has given Research In Motion (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, until Aug. 31 to comply with a request to gain access to encrypted corporate email and messaging services or those services will be shut.

"Wherever there is a concern on grounds of national security the government will want access and every country has a right to lawful interference," a senior interior security official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For a TAKE-A-LOOK on BlackBerry, click [nSGE67B0KN]

For a Q+A on BlackBerry’s security, click [ID:nN12132220]

Graphic on the BlackBerry encryption system:

here

For an analysis on political risk in India, r.reuters.com/nyt92n

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

Canadian-based Research In Motion (RIM) is under pressure from governments around the world to give access to its codes. Other companies have also faced scrutiny since authorities intensified their fight against Islamic militants misusing mobile devices.

Pakistani-based militants used mobile and satellite phones in the attacks on Mumbai in 2008, which killed 166 people.

The militants were suspected of using Internet telephony, which is widely available, in the attacks.

The authorities have for more than a year been looking at Google’s (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) messaging, Skype and other providers of communication in India. They have already forced mobile phone operators, including leading Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), to follow strict import rules when buying telecoms network equipment.

Chinese manufacturers Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp (0763.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have been temporarily prevented from shipping network equipment for fears of embedded spyware.

"We have concerns regarding these (Google and Skype) services on grounds of national security and all those services which cannot be put to lawful interference," the same source said.

India’s demands follow a deal with Saudi Arabia, where a source said RIM agreed to give authorities codes for BlackBerry Messenger users. The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Algeria also seek access. India wants access to encrypted data in a readable format, a demand RIM is resisting.

EMPTY THREATS?

How much brinkmanship this is remains to be seen. Not one country recently threatening to ban BlackBerry corporate email or messaging services has carried through with the threat.

"We don’t expect a ban actually. There will be some solution before the deadline," said a senior official with a mobile phone operator in India, who did not want to be identified.

Officials say RIM had proposed tracking emails without sharing encryption details, but that was not enough.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that it had tried to be as cooperative as possible with governments.

India, like other countries, has been criticised for seeking blanket restrictions while mobile phone operators say they have to offer consumers privacy and secure communications.

"Obviously we support the government in its responsibility to provide security, that’s not a question," said Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) and an industry spokesman.

"The only issue is how do we go about implementing the security objectives."

India is also keen to retain its position as one of the world’s fastest growing IT nations. Google and Microsoft have major R&D centres in India.

Competitors have eaten into RIM’s once-dominant share of the North American smartphone market, pushing the company to look to places like India and Saudi Arabia for growth.

A shutdown would hit one million users in India out of the smartphone’s 41 million users. India is one of RIM’s fastest growing markets.

"Given that they (RIM) have got a million-plus BlackBerry subscribers. They are obviously high-end users, and they are principally data users. But you know there are alternatives. What RIM also needs to realise is people like iPhone and Nokia are alternatives," Mathews said.

RIM, unlike rivals Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Apple (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), operates its own network through secure servers located in Canada and other countries, such as Britain.

If a shutdown takes effect, BlackBerry users in India would only be able to use the devices for calls and Internet browsing. (Additional reporting and writing by Paul de Bendern; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Ron Popeski)





Aug 13, 2010

India says Google, Skype, RIM must meet security needs

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will go after any company, including Google, after cracking down on BlackBerry in its quest to keep the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market safe from militants and cyber spying, a government source said on Friday.

India has given Research In Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, until August 31 to comply with a request to gain access to encrypted corporate email and messaging services or those services will be shut.

Aug 13, 2010

India gives RIM until Aug 31 to yield on BlackBerry

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India, the world’s fastest-growing telecom market, said it would hobble Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphone unless the company gives it the keys to decode encrypted email and messages by the end of August.

The ultimatum was issued on Thursday, hours after senior government officials and state-run telecom operators met to discuss how to access BlackBerry data.

Aug 12, 2010

Govt to shut BlackBerry if security not addressed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Research In Motion’s(RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) popular BlackBerry email and messenger services will be shut down if the Canadian maker does not address Indian security concerns by Aug. 31, a senior government source said on Thursday.

The ultimatum came hours after the home secretary, India’s top civil servant over internal security, held talks with intelligence officials and state-run telecom operators BSNL and MTNL about how the government could access encryption details, the latest global headache for Research In Motion (RIM).

Aug 12, 2010

Govt says BlackBerry meeting “inconclusive”

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A meeting of Indian officials and telecoms operators on whether to restrict Research in Motion’s BlackBerry services over national security fears was inconclusive, a top government official said on Thursday.

Worried about security, India’s interior ministry held the meeting with at least one operator on Thursday to look at how security services could access encryption details for the smartphone, the latest global headache for maker RIM.

Aug 12, 2010

India officials to meet over Blackberry security

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India may temporarily shut down BlackBerry services if security concerns are not addressed in a Thursday meeting of telecom officials and operators, the latest global headache for smartphone maker Research in Motion.

Worried about national security, India’s interior ministry has called the meeting for 12 pm local (0630 GMT) and may press for a deadline to be fixed for RIM to share encryption details.

Aug 12, 2010

Govt officials to meet over BlackBerry security

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India may temporarily shut down BlackBerry services if security concerns are not addressed in a Thursday meeting of telecom officials and operators, the latest global headache for smartphone maker Research in Motion(RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research).

Worried about national security, India’s interior ministry has called the meeting for 12 pm local (0630 GMT) and may press for a deadline to be fixed for RIM to share encryption details.

Aug 12, 2010

India steps up demands for BlackBerry access

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s demands are giving a new headache to BlackBerry maker Research in Motion after the government threatened a shutdown that could affect one million of the smartphone’s 41 million users.

India, worried about national security, could ask mobile phone operators to block BlackBerry messaging and email until RIM provides them with access to data transmitted over the handset, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Aug 11, 2010

India squeezes BlackBerry

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India may temporarily shut down BlackBerry services if New Delhi’s concerns about security are not addressed in a meeting between the government and mobile phone operators on Thursday, government sources said.

The latest ultimatum for Blackberry maker Research In Motion comes a day after the Canadian company agreed to hand over user codes that would let Saudi authorities monitor its BlackBerry Messenger, as it seeks to stop the kingdom from silencing the service, a source close to the talks said on Tuesday.

Aug 11, 2010

India squeezes BlackBerry; onus on telco operators

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India may temporarily shut down BlackBerry services if New Delhi’s concerns about security are not addressed in a meeting between the government and mobile phone operators on Thursday, government sources said.

The latest ultimatum for Blackberry maker Research In Motion(RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) comes a day after the Canadian company agreed to hand over user codes that would let Saudi authorities monitor its BlackBerry Messenger, as it seeks to stop the kingdom from silencing the service, a source close to the talks said on Tuesday.