India’s government is currently in the process of testing a solution that will allow it to spy on BlackBerry users sending and receiving data over India’s cellular airwaves. The country’s Telecom Secretary has confirmed that India’s Department of Telecommunications is testing the solution, which will allow government officials to monitor several services tied to Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones. The new solution being tested is part of India’s demands to gain access to messages sent by its citizens, and the government has threatened to ban BlackBerry devices if it is not granted access to users’ data. RIM has cooperated with some of India’s demands in the past, having provided it with the means to see messages sent via BlackBerry Messenger and to monitor web browsing, but the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor has insisted on multiple occasions that it does not possess the capability to monitor encrypted emails sent and received via its corporate BES service. India’s Telecom Secretary would not specify which BlackBerry services this new monitoring solution addresses.
RIM has announced that the company’s first BlackBerry tablet will go on sale in sixteen new countries over the next month, including Australia, France, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Its unclear if RIM has any carrier partners lined up or how much the device will retail for abroad. In the United States, Sprint most recently announced that it will begin selling the Wi-Fi PlayBook, and it also has plans to sell a 4G WiMAX version of the tablet this summer. More →
The United Arab Emirates’ Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Saturday stated its intentions to limit the access its citizens have to RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. RIM said on Sunday, however, that new regulations in the UAE will impact all smartphones and not just BackBerry devices. “The TRA has confirmed to RIM that any potential policy regarding enterprise services in the UAE would be an industry-wide policy applying equally to all enterprise solution providers,” RIM said in a statement. This is clearly a touchy subject for RIM. The secure smartphone maker has been at war for years with officials in India demanding access to corporate emails sent and received with its devices, and now the fight has spilled over into other countries. RIM insists that other companies are impacted by these regulations as well, however, and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis recently stormed out of an interview when pressed on the subject. Of course India’s regulations are affecting other companies, but RIM gets the most media attention because its devices have touted security so much since their introduction, and because RIM is the only company so far that said it cannot grant India the access it needs. More →
Though the move has yet to cause Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to storm out of an interview, India’s Economic Times reported on Thursday that the country’s government has barred Nokia’s upcoming push email service. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has relayed directives to the Department of Telecom stating that Nokia’s new push email product should not be permitted to launch in India until a system is put in place that will allow the government to monitor communications sent a received on devices. “In view of the Intelligence Bureau’s report, Department of Telecommunications is requested to advice the Telecom Service Providers not to launch Nokia’s proposed pushmail/powermail service without putting in place monitoring facilities to the satisfaction of the LEAs,” the Ministry wrote. Nokia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. More →
In a recent BBC interview, Research In Motion’s CEO Mike Lazaridis was not digging a line of questioning posed about India. RIM’s co-chief, who is usually calm, cool, and collected, became agitated when pressed about what the interviewer perceived as “security issues” with his company’s platform. In fairness to Lazaridis, we are only given a brief, sixty-second excerpt of the interview — we don’t see what the previous questions were, or the overall tone of the conversation before the CEO terminated the sit-down. Despite soaring shipment numbers, the company has been taking heat from the media hive-mind; who have relentlessly rained criticism upon the company for its business decisions. Hit the read link to watch the video and be sure to swing back by to let us know what you think. More →
RIM may be forced to shut down its services in India if it can’t provide government intelligence agencies with access to its corporate email system by March 31st. According to a new report from Reuters this morning, India’s junior telecoms minister, Sachin Pilot, said that India isn’t satisfied with the access that RIM has provided to its BlackBerry messaging services. India has asked for access to RIM’s corporate email system in an effort to thwart terrorism and maintain security, but RIM has said such a solution isn’t possible. According to The Economic Times, which wrote a similar report, India believes that RIM provides other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and China, with access to its corporate email services. India wants the same access, or it will force RIM to stop operating within its borders after March 31, 2011, one official said. RIM doesn’t look like it’s budging either, though. On Monday one RIM executive said India’s security demands are “astonishing.” More →
Robert Crow, a VP for Research In Motion, recently told The Wall Street Journal that India’s security agencies are making “rather astonishing” demands for access to RIM’s secure messaging and email networks. India and RIM have been up in arms since October 2010 when India gave RIM until January 2011 to comply with India’s intelligence laws. RIM fired back in January saying that there was no possibility to provide access to its secure email services, but has allowed Indian authorities “lawful” access its BlackBerry Messenger service. “I think this may well go on and on in India, and frankly it will be one of those factors that people talk about in the Indian business environment—not one that will be seen in India’s favor in international comparison,” Crow said. Crow also discussed RIM’s plans to expand its footprint in India, where 11,000 developers work on BlackBerry apps, and added that there’s a possibility that RIM may begin to manufacture BlackBerry parts in India. More →
India’s government reiterated its stance on Research In Motion and other companies providing officials with access to to monitor encrypted data. “It’s not a question of their giving access. Under law, they have to give access, everybody has to give access,” federal Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai told reporters on Tuesday. “Whoever gives access will be allowed to operate. Whoever does not give access will not be allowed to operate.” The Indian government notified several companies last year that they would have to provide access to emails and other data in order to comply with regulations and remain operational in the country. Following the ultimatum, the spotlight turned to RIM, a company known for providing secure and encrypted mobile services to its global subscriber base. RIM would later state publicly that it does not have the capability to give the Indian government, or anyone else, access to emails sent and received using its corporate email solution. Unless RIM can come up with a solution that falls within the guidelines set forth by applicable laws, India appears ready to pull the plug on BlackBerry smartphones. More →
Research In Motion confirmed on Thursday that it will not give the Indian government access to email sent to and from BlackBerry smartphones in its country. The refusal to comply with India’s request is less a moral stance and more an issue of technology, according to RIM. “There is no possibility of us providing any kind of a solution,” RIM VP Robert Crow said to reporters. “There is no solution. There are no keys to be handed.” India demanded access to email and all other BlackBerry services last year as part of larger efforts to monitor security threats within the country. RIM gave the Indian government access to its BlackBerry Messenger service earlier this month, but complex email encryption will apparently not allow the company to provide similar access to its email services. More →
The guys over at Notion Ink in India have revealed some user-interface updates for their upcoming Adam tablet. The tablet is expected to ship in late November 2010 and will sport a re-worked Android browser with a novel system to allow for non-intrusive tab switching. Amongst other small UI tweaks, the developers have uploaded a video of the tablet cutting through a 1080p clip like butter. The Adam tablet will come in two flavors, an LCD model and a Pixel Qi trans-reflective LCD variant; both of which rock a CPU/GPU combo of 1GHz dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 processor and Nvidia Tegra 2. Connectivity wont be a problem since the tablet is believed to feature 2 USB ports, a micro USB port, an HDMI-out port, a microSD card slot, and SIM card slot. Android aficionados will be happy to know the tablet will run Android 2.2 when released. Whilst the tech specs are more than satisfying, it remains to be seen if it can live up to buzz. Hit the read link for the latest update on the Adam. More →
Research In Motion has been getting a lot of stick recently for not providing government agencies controlled access to their encrypted servers. In August, the United Arab Emirates threatened to pull the plug on BlackBerry services before the two parties reached an agreement. In October, India chimed in on the situation giving the Waterloo based firm an ultimatum: meet compliance standards by January 31, 2011 or get shut down. BlackBerry users in India will be happy/unhappy to know that RIM and the Government of India have reached an interim arrangement wherein RIM will allow for the “lawful interception of BBM services.” RIM still has until January 31, 2011 to come up with a final solution to put this whole thing to bed. In the mean time, it’s business as usual. More →
Canadian handset manufacturer Research In Motion, fresh-off a recent victory(?) in the UAE, has been given a hard deadline by the nation of India to comply with the country’s intelligence laws. According to minutes for a recent meeting between RIM and the Indian government:
RIM would be asked to adhere to the timeline of January 2011 to give the final solution wherein lawful access for BlackBerry messenger will not involve the overseas data path. Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which had attended the discussions, found that the solutions offered by RIM (for BlackBerry messenger) are prime-facie agreeable. The timelines of January 2011 were also agreeable.
Presumably — as they did in the UAE — RIM will setup BlackBerry infrastructure within India’s borders in order to assuage concerns about international intelligence sovereignty. Previously, RIM called banning BlackBerry use in India “futile,” but it looks as though the handset manufacturer will agree to the governments prerequisites in order to continue operating in the second most populous country; population: 1.18 billion. More →