Blackberry Cloud Computing Solution?
By Sourya Biswas
BlackBerry manufacturer RIM (Research In Motion) and the Indian government have been at loggerheads for some time now due to the latter’s insistence on monitoring BlackBerry data citing security concerns. With such data being stored on servers outside India, the country’s security agencies could not access it leading to friction with the company.
Now, it seems that RIM has found a solution to meet official demands while at the same time maintaining its security agreements with BlackBerry users in India. According to reports, RIM has offered lawful interception in its security architecture through cloud computing from Indian operators, and the government is evaluating the proposal.
RIM infrastructure is ready to receive and process through the cloud computing-based system, lawfully intercepted BlackBerry Messenger data from Indian service providers, the Canada-based firm said in a letter to the government. It is still waiting to hear back from the government.
This contentious issue arose in August last year when the Indian government demanded access to BlackBerry’s encrypted corporate e-mail service and messaging services, amid fears that these could be used by terrorists. Moreover, India was not the only country with this demand; RIM has faced this issue in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well.
RIM’s move comes close to the 31st January 2011 deadline set by the Indian government to accede to its demands, failing which it has threatened to ban the BlackBerry service in the country. Although deadlines had been set, and relaxed earlier, industry watchers believe that the government may take concrete steps in case of non-adherence this time.
RIM has around one million subscribers in India, with thousands being added every month, making India one of the fastest growing markets for the company. It has reiterated that its security systems are still cutting edge by saying, “RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries”.
The current issue is concerned specifically with BlackBerry Messenger, a proprietary Instant Messenger application included on BlackBerry devices. Messages sent via Blackberry Messenger are sent over the BlackBerry PIN system; thus, communication is only possible between two BlackBerry devices.
Exchanging messages is also possible through dedicated discussion or chat groups, which allow multiple BlackBerry devices to communicate in a single session. Other than text instant messages, BlackBerry Messenger also allows users to send pictures, voice-notes (audio recordings), files, location on a map, and a wide selection of emoticons (also known as “smileys”) over the Blackberry network.