M A I N   N E W S

Smartphones under lens
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The Union Government may well bring other smartphones like the BlackBerry under the security purview and seek technical solutions to monitor their data movement. As reported earlier, the government is likely to bring the Skype services and the Google smartphone under the security scanner.

According to official sources, makers of other smartphones have been informed about the government’s security concerns and told to take appropriate measures if they don’t want the services to be curtailed.

The government’s contention is that when it comes to national security, it would need access to all kind of data. This has become imperative as Pakistan-based militants had used mobile and satellite phones during the deadly 26/11 strikes that left 166 persons dead.

The militants were suspected of using Internet telephony during the operation.

The authorities have been for more than a year looking at Google’s messaging, Skype and other providers of communication in India . They have already forced mobile phone operators, including Bharti Airtel, to follow strict import rules when buying telecoms network equipment.

Chinese manufacturers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp have been temporarily prevented from shipping network equipment for fear of embedded spyware.

Reports suggest that BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) may not be able to provide the Indian security agencies with the data in the manner they want it. RIM is under pressure from governments around the world to give access to its codes. Other companies have also faced scrutiny since authorities intensified their fight against Islamic militants misusing mobile devices.

The United Arab Emirates has said it will ban BlackBerry messenger, email and web browsing services from October 11 for security reasons.

Meanwhile, if India imposes the ban, BlackBerry corporate or “enterprise” customers would only be able to use their handsets for phone calls and web browsing. According to the company, the BlackBerry enterprise server was designed in such a way as to “preclude RIM, or any third party, from reading encrypted information under any circumstances since RIM does not store or have access to the encrypted data.”





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