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Banning only Blackberry will not solve issue: RIM

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CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Research In Motion, the makers of Blackberry, has indicated government to look at other highly encrypted solutions present in the country instead of just singling out BlackBerry for ban.

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“Strong encryption is currently used pervasively in traditional VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) on both wired and wireless networks in order to protect corporate, government and law enforcement communications. Singling out and banning one solution, such as the BlackBerry solution, would be ineffective and counter-productive,” RIM said in a statement issued this evening.

Government of India has proposed to ban some of the Blackberry services which cannot be intercepted and accessed in readable format by security agencies.

RIM, in the statement, reiterated that it does not possess a “master key”, nor does any “back door” exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party, under any circumstances, to gain access to encrypted corporate information.

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Rim also mentioned the BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers was purposely designed to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information. This was done in order to provide corporate customers with the necessary confidence that the transmission of their valuable and confidential data is completely secure.

"RIM would simply be unable to accommodate any request for a copy of a customer’s encryption key since at no time does RIM, ever possess a copy of the key," read the statement.

RIM also clarified the perception that locating BlackBerry Infrastructure within India or within any particular geography, will somehow aid the Government’s access to encrypted information.

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It stated that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) security architecture was also purposefully designed to perform as a global system independent of geography. The location of infrastructure and the customer’s choice of wireless network are irrelevant factors from a security perspective where end-to-end encryption is employed.

The transmission of encrypted data is no more decipherable or less secure based on the location of RIM’s BlackBerry Infrastructure or the customer’s selection of a wireless network, added the BlackBerry maker. All data remains encrypted at all times and through all points of transfer between the customer’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the customer’s device and at no point in the transfer is data decrypted and re-encrypted.

RIM has denied to have offered solutions to decrypt BES services to any government across the globe.

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Suggests forum on BlackBerry solution

Simultaneously, RIM has extended an offer to the Government of India whereby RIM would lead an industry forum focused on supporting the lawful access needs of law enforcement agencies while preserving the legitimate information security needs of corporations and other organizations in India.

This industry forum would work closely with the Indian government and focus on developing recommendations for policies and processes aimed at preventing the misuse of strong encryption technologies while preserving its many societal benefits in India.

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This statement issued by RIM hints that it has not been able to buy time from the government to get some more extension for running its service beyond this August 31.

RIM in its statement has mentioned that it will continue to have dialogue with the government to reach out some amicable solution. 

“Finding the right balance to address both regulatory and commercial needs in this matter is an ongoing process and RIM has assured the Government of India of its continued support and respect for India’s legal and national security requirements,” mentioned the statement.

By indicating that there are other services in India that are running in highly encrypted mode, RIM has dropped bombshell for other companies in India as well.

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