UPDATE 1-India testing ways to access BlackBerry emails – source

(Recasts with government comment)

By Bappa Majumdar and Devidutta Tripathy

NEW DELHI, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – India’s security agencies are
testing ways to access corporate email on Blackberry devices by
obtaining encrypted data in a readable format, a government
source said on Thursday.

Research In Motion (RIM.TO: ) (RIMM.O: ) faces an Aug. 31
deadline to give Indian authorities the means to track and read
BlackBerry Enterprise email and its separate BlackBerry
Messenger service.

The government, concerned about the potential for militants
to use the secure BlackBerry network to carry out attacks, has
vowed to shut the services if RIM fails to comply, cutting it
out of one of the world’s fastest-growing telecoms market.

An RIM technical team in New Delhi has been working with
the department of telecoms and security agencies to find a way
out.

RIM uses powerful codes to scramble, or encrypt, email
messages as they travel between a BlackBerry device and a
computer known as a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) that is
designed to secure those emails.

PROPOSED SOLUTION

Indian telecom officials said they had been told by RIM the
only way an email could be intercepted is when it temporarily
stores itself in an Enterprise server in a decrypted form while
travelling between two BlackBerry devices.

Indian agencies are now checking if they have the
technology to monitor emails when they get briefly stored in an
Enterprise server.

It is not possible to unscramble emails at any other stage.
RIM says it does not have a master key that controls every
system in its network.

“There have been a number of suggestions offered and this
is one of them. A technical team will check those suggestions
over the next few days,” a senior government source, who did
not want to be identified, told Reuters.

In a letter to the Interior ministry, seen by Reuters, the
telecoms ministry said if the solution is not acceptable to the
government, mobile phone operators would be instructed to stop
offering the Enterprise email services on Blackberry platform.

India said this week that it would allow the messenger
service to continue beyond the deadline as it had been assured
access to the services, but could shut down the secure email
service if access is not given by then. [ID:nSGE67G08E]

India is one of a number of countries putting pressure on
RIM, which has built the reputation of the BlackBerry, popular
with business professionals and politicians, around
confidentiality.

Governments such as Saudi Arabia’s fear it could become a
tool to plan militant attacks or for those breaking Islamic
laws.

A shutdown would affect about 1 million users in India out
of a total 41 million BlackBerry users worldwide, allowing them
to use the devices only for calls and Internet browsing.
(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Bappa Majumdar; Editing
by Sugita Katyal)

UPDATE 1-India testing ways to access BlackBerry emails – source