September 2, 2010

blackberry and national security

Blackberry has agreed to sort out security issues with the government, and it is hoped that in the two months that it has been given, it will really comply with the demand of the government relating to providing key to its encrypted data. On the other hand, tech guys are telling in support of Blackberry that the government is being unreasonable on many counts: encryption is all around on the net and in private networks... allowing business information to be snooped will kill facilities such as the enterprise solution from Blackberry... corrupt officials might misuse or sell the secret information...

I feel, the Government must be praised for taking a tough stand. If India has not been unreasonable like china with Google or over-reacting like Pakistan with face book and twitter, it shows its maturity and tolerance for different shades of public opinion. However, in the name of openness, no country should be expected to put a blind eye to its security. Then you cannot compare India with the US as far as security concerns go: with two hostile neighbors and terrorists/ extremists using other neighbors as well as its own soil to destabilise it, it has far more risky and environment than the US. Moreover, the government is giving it all the time to find a reasonable solution that serves the company's interests and its clients' needs while meeting the security requirements of the country.

It is reported that other companies offering encrypted transmission of messages, such as Google and Skype will also be asked to make arrangements so that Indian security agencies can, if required, intercept and decode the messages. Nokia has already agreed to put a server in India for such services in the country.

The government must also pool its resources to find technological solutions to security threats posed by the present and future communication technologies. The next generation of internet might raise the level of such threats manifold, and the quicker we move on this front the lesser will be the need for solutions like the one the government is seeking right now.

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