Skip to main content

RIM Mumbai Assists Indian Gov't Blackberry Surveillance

Blackberry makers Research in Motion have responded to a threat by India's government to shut down Blackberry web services in India by establishing a facility in Mumbai to assist in lawful surveillance of Blackberry devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. At issue was a complaint first issued in 2010 that Internet activity on Blackberry devices could not be tapped; the Indian Government has provided RIM with several deadlines to comply with their request to amend that limitation. 

The facility apparently provides the Indian Government with information related to chat and other Internet communications conducted on Blackberry phones. The Indian government is not currently able to intercept and decode the information themselves, which means currently they must disclose the names of suspects to RIM when conducting surveillance. The move by RIM does not address all of the Indian government's complaints. A remaining area of contention is the ability to intercept and decode blackberry email services, something Blackberry so far insists is not possible due to the smartphone's stringent security measures. The Indian government as also asked to install an official at RIM's Waterloo, Canada HQ, a request that has so far no been granted.

For their part, RIM insists they are in compliance with the government's requests and have stated "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."