RIM installs BlackBerry server in Mumbai

BlackBerry India
By DJ Reyes on 23 Feb 2012 03:55 pm EST

After months (maybe even a couple of years) of deliberation and pressure from the Indian government, RIM has decided to install a BlackBerry server in Mumbai. India have long wanted to be able to intercept and monitor corporate messages going through BES as well as BlackBerry Messenger and RIM had held off giving in to the idea, until now. By setting up these servers it allows Indian officials to 'lawfully intercept its messenger services'. 

Security agencies have already tested the servers for effectiveness and would shortly release guidelines on the 'permission for direct linkage for lawful interception of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) services'. There are currently 5000 Enterprise Servers for BES in India however Nehchal Sandhu Director of Intelligence Bureau stated that communication there would only be between companies and employees, therefore would not be of high concern for Intelligence agencies.

Licensing conditions state that local service providers must setup a mechanism that lets security agencies intercept any conversation or message sent by any BlackBerry subscriber anytime it is required. So, all carriers that offer the BlackBerry service in the country must make sure they can provide information to security and Intelligence agencies when they are asked for. 

What are you thoughts on this? Do you think RIM was right to give in? Sound off in the comments or hit up the forums for more discussion. 

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Source: Times of India
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Reader comments

RIM installs BlackBerry server in Mumbai


They really had no choice. It is the law of the country even if if we do not agree with it here on the stateside (U.S.).

Sure they had a choice! Although, it is India's country and their laws, RIM made the decision to give the keys to their vault to a 3rd party.
At the very least, RIM can no longer make the case that their platform is secure.

I wouldn't be surprised if the US and Canadian governments demand this from RIM as well, especially since they are introducing those new bills to look at our internet activity.

Awesome. Next next the N.A. NOC goes down, maybe they'll route through Mumbai. Perfect security solution for North America.

I am glad to see the government requiring this of the companies, not of RIM. I completely agree that if RIM wishes to do business in a country, they must be compliant with that counties laws. Period.

Both the US and Canada have judges on call 24 hours a day to sign warrants to gain access to this information, and I doubt the judges do more then give a cursory glance at those warrants.

As long as access to the data requires a warrant (or India's legal equivalent) it's no different than wiretapping a phone and quite reasonable for BBM. Access to a BES should be handled at the mail server, not at the NOC level. I suspect in this case that's what's happening, it's been stated by RIM and confirmed by independent audits that BES is encrypted from the BES to the phone. Intercepting it at the NOC would be useless as you'd just get encrypted data.

Well I agree that in order to operate in any country a company should need to comply with the laws of that country.

Also, unfortunately, RIM does not have the clout of Apple/Google/etc and as such can not afford to go head to head against the Indian Gov. Nor can RIM afford to NOT operate in India (hence loose all those customers).

They did what they needed to do. C'est la vie.

Do you honestly think Apple or Google have the clout to stand up to one of the world's largest emerging markets either? For either of them to lose the ability to do business in India would be catastrophic...

I think I have this straight, but correct me if wrong.
RIM uses their own NOC for data services, where Apple, Nokia, Google, Samsung, etc. do not use their own NOC. They allow all traffic openly via the cellular network and therefore the governments already have access.

For your information Google, Facebook, twitter, etc agreed this month itself to file a compliance report before high court of Delhi towards the control of inflammatory content. Actually, Indian government is overhauling the complete Internet and mobile data. The installation of server by rim is a step in this regard only. Btw am from India.

I smell a rat in the form of our favorite fruit company.......

This removes a key RIM differentiator as the network is no longer private, just like all the rest. I can imagine the lobbying to "shut down the terrorist network" and by "accident", level the competitive playing field.

You've got to admire the subterfuge........

Lord. This type of access is given to EVERY governement that RIM operates servers in. Australia, Canada and the US just to name a few.

Has nothing to do with Apple or Google or Tim the Toolman.

I think the major issue is about the aim of local government through this policy.. if it is aimed for national security policy and as long as the government keep the freedom of speech and communicate among their people, then it's not a decadent step ..

good move from RIM. This will definitely increase the brand value of RIM as a trustable telecommunication partner in India. RIM is making those right strides now!

Good work RIM. India is such a huge market for any smartphone maker. And BlackBerry and BBM is has huge followers in India. Unlike in Canada, the BB plan with service providers like Airtel and Vodafone is really cheap, as low as 6$ for a month. !!!!