Government to take possession of BlackBerry infrastructure in Mumbai

The idea behind this move is to test the solution offered by the smartphone maker, that lets security agencies intercept communication on network.

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Government to take possession of BlackBerry infrastructure in Mumbai

The Government of India plans to take possession of the server and other infrastructure set up by the smartphone maker, BlackBerry, in the city of Mumbai. The idea behind this move is to test the solution offered by BlackBerry for legal interception of Internet communication.

After initial reluctance, BlackBerry is now complying with the directives to let security agencies intercept communication and data on the network, in real time, in a readable format. Security agencies say that there was an urgent need for decrypting the internet browsing services, the deadline for which has been set for April this year. The team at RIM has only been able to provide a temporary solution thus far. According to the results of the initial testing, certain data like 'attachments' sent with emails using the BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) from the device also could not be downloaded in real time.

The government has also asked BlackBerry to hand over the BlackBerry service PIN details for all users in the country, and it is believed that BlackBerry has handed over all details to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Each BlackBerry handset comes with a unique PIN number, which is locked to the device and cannot be changed. This PIN is used to connect with other BlackBerry users, for services like BlackBerry Messenger.

"With respect to PIN to IMEI resolution, the tested solution is apparently satisfactory for all the handsets officially shipped to India. With regard to handsets shipped to other countries, RIM intimated that PIN to IMEI correlation in such cases can be obtained through BlackBerry Public safety office (PSO)," the note said, adding, "We may negotiate with RIM to provide the entire IMEI-PIN correlation data of other countries."

Interestingly, the fact that newer BlackBerry 10 smartphones do not use the enterprise server for all email communication may cause a new headache for the government, since those emails are routed just like on an Android or iOS device.

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