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Indian authorities want ability to monitor Blackberry traffic for reasons of security

Some would say it’s not every day that a government gives a mobile phone service provider an ultimatum to either give in or give up, but recently, censorship and government snooping have become more common than in past decades.

Recently, the Indian government demanded that telecom providers allow government authorities to monitor traffic flowing through their networks for terrorist activities. According to a Business Standard post, the Indian government asked a number of telecommunications companies to open up their networks to monitor Blackberry-based traffic or face shutdown throughout the country within 15 days.

Indian government authorities proposed that each service provider work out the details with Blackberry licensor Research in Motion before this 15-day period.

DailyTech contacted RIM's media relations and received the following statement, "RIM operates in more than 130 countries around the world and respects the regulatory requirements of governments. RIM does not comment on confidential regulatory matters or speculation on such matters in any given country."

If RIM and service providers offering Blackberry services comply with the government's demands, it will mean roughly 400,000 Blackberry users will be left without service such as email and messaging. According to India's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, the security of the nation of India is their top priority even if it means that telecom companies will be shut down if they do not let government authorities in and monitor traffic freely.

India is not the first government to demand the ability to monitor telecom traffic. Recently, U.S. government agencies, such as the NSA, have been the center for discussion and legal battles regarding wiretapping. The U.S. Senate has also gone so far as to pass a bill that would give telecoms that cooperate with U.S. agencies in warrant-less wiretapping and other illegal monitoring activities immunity from lawsuits.

Since India has a different legal process than the United States, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology may have a better chance of getting its way with Indian telecoms and consumers.





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