India Gives RIM Until August 31st To Relinquish Encryption Keys

India Gives RIM Until August 31st To Relinquish Encryption Keys

Two days ago we reported on the tense standoff between RIM and Indian authorities, who were due to meet and discuss the way RIM used encryption to protect its messages.

On Thursday, just hours after their meeting, the Indian authorities said they will restrict BlackBerry messaging on the 31st August if the smartphone company does not hand over the keys to decode encrypted email and messages.

India fear that RIM’s encryption of messages will allow miltants to plan and arrange terrorist campaigns like the attacks on Mumbai over two years ago. By blocking BlackBerry Enterprise email and Messenger services, India hopes RIM will relent and hand over access to messaging so they can monitor communications through its networks.

“RIM has assured us they will come with some solution. It remains to be seen whether they address our security concerns,” said a senior internal security official who declined to be identified.

RIM fears that by reliquishing its encryption keys it will lose business as companies will no longer trust the communications flowing through its networks, stating that  strong encryption is a fundamental commercial requirement for any country to attract and maintain international business.”

Should India proceed with its messaging shutdown, Indian BlackBerry users will only be able to use their handsets for calls and internet access.

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