RIM gives India access but not to secure e-mails

Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:58am EST
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By Devidutta Tripathy and Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said it has given India the means to access its Messenger service and reiterated that no changes could be made to allow monitoring of secure corporate emails.

India wants access to all BlackBerry services as part of efforts to fight militancy and security threats over the internet and through telephone communications.

"... No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server 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," the company said on Thursday.

RIM encrypts email messages as they travel between a BlackBerry device and a computer known as BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The company has said it does not have a master key to decode these emails and only the sponsoring business or organization has the technical capability to grant access to encrypted enterprise email.

Late last year, the company managed to avert a ban in India by offering interim access to BlackBerry Messenger and promising a broader solution by January 31.

On Thursday, a senior interior ministry official said it was still to see the solution offered by RIM and the government's stand on access to corporate email remained unchanged.

"I cannot respond without seeing their reply to the government of India," U.K. Bansal told Reuters.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal cited interior ministry secretary G.K. Pillai as saying the government was talking to companies that use BlackBerry to gain access to their employees' secure communications when it was deemed necessary.   Continued...

<p>A person surfs the internet through a Blackberry in Jakarta January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni</p>