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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DoT takes RIM's bait

The fight between DoT(Department of Telecommunications, India) and RIM (Research in Motion) has taken new dimensions. DoT was forcing RIM to share the private data of the customers...messages, transactions etc..which happened through Blackberry's. Security agencies were concerned about the potential usage of an un-monitored communication system by terrorists. This led to widespread confusion among the users and there were even rumors that Blackberry's will be pulled out from the market.

Who can afford to leave the country with the highest growth in cell phone users? Finally, RIM has agreed to share the data with DoT. Or better, I should say that they have agreed to handover the data to DoT. Blackberry uses Public(with user) and Private(with company) key in its encryption system. Private key is held by RIM. Now, they have offered to give the private keys to DoT with an if clause, "if DoT will assume full resposibility and bear the consequences in case of a data loss or data theft."

If DoT agrees to this, I will say they have taken the bait. Since security systems in India are "highly sophisticated and hack proof", it will be just a matter of hours for some one to get the private keys.

Also, Blackberry is used by many users for bank transactions and similar stuff because of its high security. So, if DoT loses the data, think of the damage it can do! Millions of bank accounts and credit card numbers and private messages floating around!!

This is the first case where RIM is known to have shared the security details with a government. There is also a rumor that RIM plans for a similar deal with China to roll out there soon. But, in China it always happens. Be it be Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, China has forced the companies to reveal private and sensitive information. Is India trying to become another Big Brother? This also reminds me of the short period when blogs were blocked by the Indian Government.

Any thoughts by Blackberry users?

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