RIM Tells India That It Simply Cannot Snoop On Blackberry Email

from the so-sorry dept

A few months back, we noted that the Indian government was demanding that RIM let government officials snoop on emails sent via Blackberry devices, or they would be banned in India. I’m not sure why it took so long for RIM to point this out, but it finally has explained to the government the nature of its encryption scheme which means that RIM itself cannot decrypt messages sent via the network, since they’re based on an encryption key set up by the end user. It’s not clear how India is going to respond, though the article notes the two sides are “talking.”

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Comments on “RIM Tells India That It Simply Cannot Snoop On Blackberry Email”

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33 Comments
JS Beckerist (profile) says:

Re: duh!

I know you’re mostly kidding, but seriously YOU try learning a second language. No, scrap that, the TECHNICAL side of a second language. Got that? Ok now, here’s a book in that language of software you’ve never used. Read the whole thing yet? Alright now you’re going to have 30 to 100 people a day calling you up, yelling at you for something you don’t have ANYTHING to do with and saying that they want to speak to someone named Joe…

…not an easy job my friend. It’s why they get paid the “big bucks” to do it, even though it’s still peanuts compared to us over here.

TheTraveler says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You should NEVER create a back door to your own system, that is just about the most unintelligent thing you could do to yourself. You might as well tie the noose your own neck! If RIM would have created a back door it would have been cracked LONG before now! So unless you know something the rest of us don’t about hacking then stop your idiocy! You’re about as useless as broken clock in a dark room being viewed by a blind person that doesn’t know how to tell time!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Encryption backdoor

It is incredibly rare for (maybe never?) for mainstream encryption to have a purposeful backdoor. Why? Because backdoors are almost always found by hackers. When that happens the entire scheme is rendered useless and the company that made it has a very damaged reputation. So why create something at your own cost that you would never use and is a huge liability?

Jake says:

Re: Re:

Yes, I have, and I value mine. The privacy of someone that my local law enforcement are really sure is going to stuff twenty pounds of dynamite up his jumper and set it off in a public place -sure enough that they don’t mind giving sworn testimony to that effect and quite possibly getting fired if they’re wrong- I’m somewhat less concerned about.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

How They Set Up Encryption

I remember my first Blackberry in 1999. The setup software asked me to generate my own encryption key. But it wasn’t something low-grade like a 6-character password. They ask you to wiggle and move your mouse around the screen for about 10 seconds. Your random mouse movements generate the key, and the key is stored in your device.

That, to me, seems like pretty good privacy.

Of course, the key is also sent to RIM so they can decrypt your mail at their end (if you have Blackberry Internet Edition). One would assume that with the Blackberry Server Solution, the key is only stored on your device, and in your on-premise server, offering you end-to-end wireless security between your enterprise and your Blackberry. However, that does not encrypt the messages from your enterprise Exchange server to your co-correspondents and back.

But my main point is that that mouse-move thing was pretty cool. Much better than your dog’s name or your anniversary.

rishi says:

could you explain this

The Indian government is using the argument that

It is also learnt that the DoT has rejected RIM’s argument that it did not possess the encryption keys. Instead, the DoT has pointed out that since RIM’s BlackBerry service meets the provisions of US CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, 1994) regulations, all BlackBerry data traffic originating on Indian mobile networks can be tracked electronically by CALEA sleuths in the Federal Communications Commission.

(DoT being the Indian Department of Telecom.)

Is this argument valid?

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