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RIM sets up a Blackberry surveillance base in India

Lawful snooping central
Fri Oct 28 2011, 09:15

CANADIAN COMMUNICATIONS FIRM Research in Motion (RIM) is helping the Indian government set up a surveillance base to keep track of its Blackberry communications services.

A report at the Wall Street Journal says that the base will be used for lawful communications snooping and is based in Mumbai. Apparently though, it might not go far enough and does not fully meet India's demands for access to Blackberry messages.

The base appears to be some sort of compromise. Last year India wanted to tap into Blackberry user conversations and communications and threatened to shut RIM out of the country if it did not get its way. Rather than suffer banishment RIM decided to work with the government and built the surveillance base.

People familiar with the matter said that RIM will supply information on communications as long as it is satisfied that the request has the proper legal authorisation. Under the agreement India can submit the name of a suspect it wants to tap, and RIM will return decoded messages on request.

The sources claim that India might want more, for example, the ability to tap into messages without involving RIM at all, but as far as RIM is concerned things are going okay so far.

RIM said in a statement, "We are not operating under any deadlines and we believe the government of India is now applying its security policy in a consistent manner to all handset makers and service providers in India, which means that RIM should not be singled out any more than any other provider." µ


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