labels: Telecom
DoT asks Tata Tele to delay Blackberry services; directs others to set up monitoring facility news
23 April 2008

Mumbai: The government has asked Tata Teleservices not to offer Blackberry services unless the required monitoring system being insisted for by security agencies is put in place.

The Department of Telecom has also directed all the providers of RIM Blackberry services to set up monitoring servers for e-mail.

Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance have been offering these services to their customers in the domestic market.

Tata Tele had just announced their entry into this segment and they have now been told by the government to delay the launch until the proper monitoring technologies are in place.

''Keeping in view of the security implication involved, the licensee (company) is directed not to connect or provide or run the Blackberry e-mail and mobile messenger services unless the required monitoring system to the satisfaction of the security agencies are in place and the master key and algorithm are deposited with the licensor,'' DoT said in a letter to Tata Teleservices.

Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited had sought permission for launching Blackberry services, saying other leading operators have been offering services without meeting the above mentioned security clauses.

"Non-compliance of instructions by any other operator in breach of terms and conditions of the licence cannot be a valid ground for according permission to offer Blackberry services," DoT said.

DoT and the ministry of home affairs have been in talks with the Blackberry licensor Research In Motion (RIM) as also mobile service providers like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications to put in place a system to intercept data sent using Blackberry technology.

Communications minister A Raja said the home ministry was still not convinced by the security solution offered by BlackBerry stakeholders and concerns about the service being a security threat are yet to be resolved.

"The home ministry is still not convinced on how the encryption can be carried out," Raja told a private television channel.

Sources said the home ministry has asked RIM to place the server, through which e-mails are routed on BlackBerry sets, in the country so that contents could be monitored, if required.

There are about four lakh subscribers of BlackBerry services in India.

DoT is also looking at other options, including taking help from foreign companies to monitor the contents transmitted through Blackberry device.

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DoT asks Tata Tele to delay Blackberry services; directs others to set up monitoring facility