Blackberry snooping in India? There’s an app for thatBy Sriram Vadlamani Apr 10, 2012 11:23AM UTC
The saga of the Indian government’s need to snoop on Blackberry messages is finally coming to an end. Indian government now has the ability to snoop on Blackberry messages and RIM has done its best to help the government by setting up a facility in Mumbai.
Research in Motion (RIM) was fighting a losing battle all along ever since the Indian government requested the interception facility in 2008. The need to snoop was intensified after the November 26 attack on Mumbai in 2008. The battle, which RIM lost, has ended with RIM setting up a facility in February 2012. A readily consumable format is in the offing. Who knew an app would be next.
The Indian government was never in a position to break through Blackberry’s encryption and was seeking RIM’s help. When governments ask for help, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it either asking nor is it a help. The Indian government has threatened to shut down Blackberry’s services in the country if it didn’t comply. That would mean a little over one million Blackberry users would be out of service.
Blackberry for some reason is still popular in India, especially among youths. RIM also has a renewed India strategy which means cutting down prices across its handsets and trying it to compete with Samsung.
Blackberry has three clientele groups: Politicians and celebrities, corporate users, and students.
Of course, the Indian government thinks that terrorists use Blackberrys and those are the phones the government really want to tap into.
Corporate users might just have a problem or two here. The past few weeks in India were tumultuous weeks for confidential information. Letters from the army which were deemed secret were leaked to the media. What guarantees do the corporates now have that these snoopers aren’t leakers?
Most of the celebrities for some reason prefer Blackberry’s. Very few use iPhone and adventurous ones use Android. Same goes for politicians. Is it because of the encryption Blackberry provides? There is nothing which suggests that the celebrities and politicians are using Blackberry’s to hide something. But if they are then they should look for alternatives.
As for RIM and Blackberry it has lost its final armor. First armor was the QWERTY keypad which every manufacturer from Micromax to Nokia have broken. Blacberry’s last armor was its encryption which is now ‘broken’ by the Indian government.
For those who have been buying Blackberry’s, is there a reason to buy it anymore?