Research In Motion (RIM) confirmed yesterday that it is willing to work with India on policy that would regulate the use of encryption technologies, but India reportedly says it’s not willing to compromise.
According to a press release, RIM is extending an offer to the government of India whereby RIM would lead an industry forum focused on supporting the lawful access needs of law enforcement agencies, while preserving the legitimate information security needs of corporations and other organizations in India.
Meanwhile, Reuters today cited an Indian government official close to the talks who said that the country is only willing to accept a solution which enables lawful interception of BlackBerry services.
“The solution, if they come up with it, will have to go through field trials and satisfy our technical experts,” the official told Reuters. “The government’s position does not change … We are hopeful they will come up with some solution.”
The announcement comes as RIM battles a rash of concerns from countries that say that encryption technology, such as that used in RIM’s Blackberry devices, can be exploited by terrorists and criminals. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and other countries have recently expressed misgivings about RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones, with the UAE calling for a complete ban of the devices.
In particular, the industry forum would work closely with the Indian government and focus on developing recommendations for policies aimed at preventing the misuse of strong encryption technologies while preserving its many societal benefits in India.
In yesterday’s statement, RIM contends that India’s technological and economic growth will only increase the country’s need to protect the integrity and security of sensitive corporate information through encryption-based information and communications services.
“Banning such strong encryption-based information and communications services would severely limit the effectiveness and productivity of India’s corporations,” RIM stated, adding that many countries are already putting polices into place to combat the misuse of encryption technologies.
RIM says that finding a way to deal with encryption technology responsibly is an industry-wide challenge and can only be truly overcome if the Information and Communications Technology industry comes together as a whole to work with the Government of India.
The statement goes on to point out certain misconceptions surrounding the flap over RIM’s use of encryption technology on its devices. RIM says it does not have a “master key” or “back door” that would allow RIM or any third party, under any circumstances, to gain access to encrypted corporate information. RIM also denied accusations that it has offered solutions to certain governments while denying the same to others.