Following the UAE’s call for access to Blackberry’s encryption, India’s raises concerns about being unable to monitor data sent via e-mail or messaging on the smartphone.
India has issued a warning that it could stop email and messaging services on BlackBerry phones by August 31 if the Canadian smartphone maker, Research In Motion, does not address its concerns.
The Indian government is worried that BlackBerry services could be used by terrorist outfits to exchange information because security agencies cannot intercept or decode the signals.
There have been a number of terror attacks on Indian cities including a daring raid on Mumbai in 2008, killing close to 200 people. In addition, frequent attacks from insurgent outfits in Kashmir in the northeast have forced the government to relook at its counter-terror options.
Governments around the world have clamored for access to RIM’s messaging technology. While the UAE has announced it would halt Blackberry apps from October 11, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have also planned to block the Blackberry Messenger service.
European countries, particularly Germany are also putting pressure on RIM to relax its security so it can monitor communications. Last week the European Commission chose the iPhone over the Blackberry as the official handset for employees.
RIM owes its appeal in large part to its phone’s security. Many experts view that if RIM compromises its security for individual governments, it could also lose its competitive advantage.
If the Indian government places the ban on Blackberry’s e-mail and messaging services, customers can still make calls or surf the internet.