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Blackout for BlackBerry in India – some services facing problems




BlackBerry Services are under fire from the Indian government, with the latest word from the Intelligence Bureau stating that BlackBerry services will be banned in India if the concerns raised by the Indian government are not addressed by the Canadian developer of BlackBerry Smartphone Research In Motion Limited. Although it’s not a total ban, if the ban is enforced, then the BlackBerry phones will not become a pack of junk; it is just that the BlackBerry Messenger and business enterprise services will be shut down but the USP for BlackBerry will be lost for sure. India is not alone in the demand; United Arab Emirates has already planned to halt these services from Oct. 11.
BlackBerry uses a push based service. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server in Canada redirects new e-mail, calendar updates, documents and other data straight to the user over the internet and cell phone network. While it sends data to the handset, it encrypts the data with triple data encryption standard. This high level of encryption is making it tough for Indian security agencies to monitor via the servers of BlackBerry, which are in Canada. RIM declines to provide access to its servers and to lower the encryption level as sought by Indian agencies. RIM has offered to help India track the emails without sharing the encryption details and also the ‘Metadata’ (in terms of who sent the email, to whom it was sent, and so on) but the security officials are not impressed with it.

Another viewpoint is that India is wasting time chasing BlackBerry because most terrorists would not consider using BlackBerry as a medium of communication. Firstly, to have a secure communication under current situation the terrorist will have to use BlackBerry both for sending as well as receiving the mail. But why would a terrorist even bother to even send a mail, they would just create an E-mail account with both parties having access to the mail and then just change the contents of drafts without sending the mail; the idea being the mail that has not been sent can’t be intercepted (however, it has been said that security services can find these if they know the email id). Or for SMS just get a SIM card with fake identity, use it for a month, and then dump it. Or make good-old phone call using SIM card and then dump it (which is also why the Indian Government has been pushing subscribers to validate all their user details or suffer damages).
The word from RIM is that it is likely to withdraw the sale of its BlackBerry Smartphone from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates after the device was banned in both countries, to show its commitment to upholding its brand of secured communications. This consideration might have been made keeping in mind that the two Middle East markets are very small compared to North America and Western Europe. Although the customer base in India is lesser then in these Middle East countries combined but analysts speculate that keeping in mind the potential of the Indian market the same decision might not be taken for India.
To conclude, its not a panic situation for BlackBerry users in India because BlackBerry would surely not want to lose the Indian market. This is because, if BlackBerry wants to grow constantly, it can’t do without the Indian and Chinese markets. All other markets are close to saturation, But even if there is a blackout for BlackBerry for a few days there will always be hacks available on the internet to bypass it.




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