No ‘master key’ to decode BlackBerry data: RIM


New Delhi: Discussions continued between India’s security establishment and Research in Motion (RIM) over access to encrypted data sent on BlackBerry devices even as the Canadian firm ruled out “selective” decoding of e-mails and SMSs.

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“This matter is still under discussion. There is certain amount of confidentiality in these talks. We cannot share such information,” said U.K. Bansal, special secretary, internal security, with the home ministry, about the talks with the Canadian firm.

“It will be too early to speculate what measures we will take. But what I can say is our security concerns cannot be compromised at any cost. We are working with the Department of Telecommunications on the matter,” Bansal told IANS.

A spokesperson for Research in Motion said his company respected both the regulatory requirements of governments and security and privacy needs of corporate users and other consumers. But encryption of data was not something unique to BlackBerry devices alone.

“We do not possess a ‘master key’ or something nor do we have a back door in the system to allow even us let alone a third party to gain unauthorised access to the key or any corporate data sent via BlackBerry devices,” Satchit Gayakwad, the spokesperson, told IANS.

“The BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers is purposefully designed to exclude the capability for Research in Motion, or any third party, to read encrypted information under any circumstances,” Gayakwad added.

“Any claims that we provide, or have ever provided, something unique to the government of one country that we have not offered to the governments of all countries, are totally unfounded.”

Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot had Wednesday told IANS the government was hoping for a solution soon to access such data only under under certain situations, adding this was only to address security concerns and not invade a citizen’s privacy.

“We are working with them. They have given certain options. We are hoping they will come on board in addressing our genuine and legitimate security concerns,” Pilot had said, referring to the discussions with Research in Motion.

“We would want Blackberry services to stay and expand. We only want to take measures to counter the possibility of these devices being misused. Our internal security people have no desire whatsoever to be obstructionists.”

Research in Motion has shipped over 100 million BlackBerry devices till date, with some 46 million active subscribers through 550 telecom carriers in more than 175 countries. The company does not share country-specific data.