India Wants Real-Time Data from BlackBerrys

India is still mulling its August 31st BlackBerry ban and things have gotten more complicated. While Research In Motion (RIM) has tried to make a deal with India, apparently its offer isn’t good enough when it comes to encrypted email. RIM’s current proposal is to have India send it the mobile number of a device that needed to be broken into and RIM would get back with the information, etc. within 10 days.


An India official has been quoted as saying, “for example if two terrorists are negotiating a strike, you can’t expect us to wait for 10 days,” and while that certainly is a valid point, why can’t India just hack into the BlackBerrys themselves? I am pretty sure privacy laws don’t apply anywhere anymore when suspected terrorists are involved and the BlackBerry platform certainly isn’t unbreakable. Is this a case where India wants to do things in a more legal fashion or is the country’s intelligence services too far behind widely available technology to just hack the devices themselves?

I am certain the NSA or any leading computer security company can hack into the BlackBerry and decrypt everything pretty quickly (especially non-BES BlackBerrys). I still lean towards the idea that India is headed down the path of China and just wants to censor everyone and everything that it deems unacceptable. Did not read about that? Yeah, India’s freedom of speech makes exceptions in the public order, decency and morality categories and the government has no problem telling Google and other Internet content providers to remove stuff or just blocking things themselves. The same goes for the rest of the countries considering banning the BlackBerry.

Regardless of whether or not India bans the BlackBerry or gets the keys to decrypt all of the information on them, terrorists aren’t really going to care. They will just use third party encryption that is just as or even more secure. It is the consumers wanting to voice their opinions and widen their minds that will be hurt out of all of this.

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