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RIM helps India in legal BlackBerry surveillance

A salesman explains the features of a blackberry phone to a customer inside a showroom in Mumbai.


Research In Motion Ltd. has set up a facility in Mumbai to help the government carry out lawful surveillance of its BlackBerry services, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

RIM gave India access to its consumer services, including its Messenger services, in January this year after authorities raised security concerns, but said it could not allow monitoring of its enterprise e-mail.

RIM partly assuaged India by setting up the small Mumbai facility earlier this year to handle surveillance requests from India, the WSJ reported.

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India can submit the name of a suspect its investigators want to wiretap, and RIM will return decoded messages for that individual, as long as it is satisfied the request has legal authorization, it said.

RIM was not available for comment outside regular Canadian business hours.

The new facility will handle lawful intercept requests for consumer services including the BlackBerry Messenger chat service, the paper said.

India saw the move as a positive step, but would prefer an arrangement where it has the ability to decode messages itself, so that it can conduct surveillance without disclosing the names of suspects to RIM, the Journal reported.

India still has no method to intercept and decode BlackBerry enterprise e-mail, which is used by corporate customers and features a higher level of encryption than consumer e-mail and instant messaging, the report said.

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