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DoT finds solution for BlackBerry service
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The Department of Telecommuncations (DoT) has offered a possible solution to the contentious issue of monitoring BlackBerry services, under which the enterprise email offering can be monitored by feeding back a clear email from the enterprise email server (located at the company's facilities) to a monitoring system located at each of the internet service provider’s (ISP’s) premises.

Telecom operators who offer BlackBerry services are also ISPs. The feasibility of this solution, says DoT, will be explored after discussions with the Intelligence Bureau as well as the ISPs.

Research in Motion(RIM), the company that offers BlackBerry services worldwide, says DoT has been non-committal to the possibility of locating its server or servers at the ISP premises on the grounds of technical feasibility. However, in an internal noting, DoT has made it clear that if this solution is not acceptable to the Ministry of Home Affairs, it will be forced to ask RIM to discontinue BlackBerry enterprise e-mail services. The Home Ministry has already set a deadline of August 31 for RIM to come out with a solution or face termination of its services.

DoT has also pointed out that security agencies can obtain clear text from the e-mail servers located at an enterprise after determining the IP addresses and locations of the servers from the respective ISPs.

DoT, which has been pushing RIM to locate a server in India, has pointed out that the request has not found favour with RIM. The company has stated that e-mail messages only travelled through a number of routers in the BlackBerry infrastructure and that messages were not stored on the Blackberry server in Canada, as is normally believed. However, the company has a set-up to help security agencies track messages.

RIM has made it clear that the enterprise e-mail service is similar to those offered by Cisco, which offers secure virtual private network services via the internet. A BlackBerry mobile device sends encrypted e-mails to a server located within the premises of an enterprise. The server decrypts the message and sends it to the e-mail server of the enterprise, where it remains in decrypted form.

The message is then pushed to the BlackBerry device in encrypted form by the enterprise server. RIM, Dot says, has made it clear that the only place to get the decrypted message is from the enterprise e-mail server, and what RIM can provide is the meta data which includes the IP addresses and details of the phones.

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