Indian phone networks compliant on BlackBerry

September 23, 2010

, NEW DELHI, Sept 23 – Two leading Indian mobile providers have told the government they have upgraded their networks to allow law enforcers to monitor messages sent through BlackBerry smartphones, a report said Thursday.

India last month gave the Canadian makers of the BlackBerry smartphone a 60-day reprieve on a threat to ban its messaging services after the firm agreed to give security forces "lawful access" to data.

Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Tata Teleservices Ltd. have both sent compliance reports to India\’s Department of Telecommunications confirming they carried out the upgrading work, Dow Jones Newswires reported, quoting unnamed sources.

"The networks were tested by a joint team" consisting of the operator, security agencies and the manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM), one source was quoted as saying.

The sources said the testing reports were considered compliance reports, Dow Jones said.

Under Indian law telecom operators must ensure security agencies can access all services carried on their networks.

The Department of Telecommunications had told mobile operators to give a "compliance report" by Wednesday that their networks had been "upgraded" to allow monitoring of data.

RIM offers its popular BlackBerry services in India through the networks of local mobile phone operators such as Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices.

India has been worried the heavily encrypted BlackBerry services such as messenger and corporate email could be used by militants and has asked RIM to come up with tools to allow India\’s security agencies to monitor those services.

RIM has insisted it is seeking to honour its commitment to be as cooperative as possible with governments "in the spirit" of supporting national security needs while preserving "the lawful needs of citizens and corporations".

There are about one million BlackBerry users in India, the world\’s fastest growing mobile market.


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