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RIM unable to provide solutions to access corporate emails

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Canadian smartphone maker Research In Motion Ltd. Thursday said it can’t give Indian security agencies access to its BlackBerry corporate email service, throwing the future of the popular service into uncertainty in the world’s fastest-growing telecommunications market.

There is no technology available that will allow monitoring of the email service, Robert Crow, RIM’s vice president for industry, government and university relations, told reporters.

“We can’t give a solution for enterprise services [corporate email]. It’s not possible to do so, because the keys of that service are with the corporate enterprises and corporate entity that owns the server,” Crow said.

The Indian government, which fears the heavy encryption on RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones makes them convenient for terrorists to use undetected, has been holding talks with the company to find ways of monitoring its corporate email services. It hasn’t, however, set a target date for resolving the matter.

Onkar Kedia, a spokesman for the federal Ministry of Home Affairs, said the ministry doesn’t have any immediate comments to offer on the matter.

Earlier this month, RIM provided tools giving Indian security agencies access to its messenger services, another feature that had been facing government scrutiny, setting aside concerns about the service’s future in India.

BlackBerry devices use an advanced encrypted email system, making them popular with corporate users. However, RIM has been under pressure from several governments–especially in the Middle East and Asia–to provide access to the secure networks. The company averted a ban on key services in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia after the countries said regulatory requirements had been satisfied.

India is crucial to smartphone makers, with its smartphone market expected to grow to about 40 million by the end of 2015 from about 10 million at the end of 2010, according to a forecast by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Thursday’s remarks on corporate email are a reiteration of RIM’s long-held position that neither it nor the wireless carriers on whose networks RIM’s services run can decipher the encrypted corporate emails.

“No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server [corporate email] 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,” RIM had said in a customer update on Jan. 14.

Crow Thursday said the government’s requirements about access to corporate emails isn’t unique to RIM, as there are other service providers offering such services on secure networks.

In December, mobile handset maker Nokia Corp. said it had set up servers in India to let local security agencies monitor the Finnish company’s enterprise email services. Last September, India said it would also seek access to Google Inc.’s Gmail email service and Luxembourg-based Skype’s Internet phone services.

Spokespeople at both Google and Skype said they haven’t received any communication from the Indian authorities on the matter.

RIM’s Crow will meet government officials over the next few days to discuss the corporate email issue and to gauge India’s feedback on solutions provided for messenger services.

Originally posted at: http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=461888&G=3&C=3&Page=0

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