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Privacy Cellphones Communications Government Handhelds Security IT

RIM's Encryption 'Too Secure' For Indian Government's Taste 140

Posted by timothy
from the nsa-smiles-and-nods-politely dept.
climenole writes "Research in Motion, the creator of the widely used enterprise-cum-consumer BlackBerry device, has an uncertain position in India. The Indian government's internal security and intelligence services cannot break the encryption of the device, which makes countering terror threats and national security matters difficult — especially for a region which faces constant threats and attacks from domestic Maoist insurgents and extremist Islamic groups." Does it make you wonder how much safer everyone would be if parkas, mailing envelopes, cash, and superglue were all evaluated on the same basis?
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RIM's Encryption 'Too Secure' For Indian Government's Taste

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  • And GnuPG? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:34PM (#33103376) Homepage

    What about sending email with GnuPG?

    • No one does (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rix (54095) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:41PM (#33103442)

      So they don't care.

    • by JSlope (1180805)
      Usually I think that it's too complicate to configure for an average user and it's a show stopper for most of them.
    • If your point is what about other encryption services (including GPG, PGP, TrulyMail, etc.) then you are right. There is nothing someone can do to prevent EVERY way of keeping messages private. The fact that RIM is talking about (or has already) given the keys to the kingdom to some governments clearly shows that they *can* knock off some tools, but not all of them. If your point is only for GPG than I agree with JSlope that it is way too difficult for the non-technical user to configure. Luckily, there ar
  • dupe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:41PM (#33103448) Journal
    Wow, I haven't seen a dupe this bad [slashdot.org] in a long time. The story is still on the front page. Add to it the story of being detained at the border, Verizon changing router passwords, and the hacker tapping phones for $1500, and today is privacy Sunday, eh guys?
    • Um, I'm a bit confused on how the UAE is related to India, last time I checked they were entirely different regions of the world.
      • that story did say they were following india's example... so it's worse than a dupe... it's breaking a story that another story already referenced in the past tense.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Read the original story - India is mentioned.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Also, summary.

      • Re:dupe (Score:4, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:00PM (#33103608) Journal
        Heh, so you are one of those guys who only reads the title and not the summary, I see. Sign up to be a Slashdot editor, they need more people like you.
    • timothy is on a roll.
      • Don't you mean on a role? Wait, augh! Too much slashdot!

        enterprise-come-consumer

        ;_; What are they doing to you my poor language?

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          What are they doing to you my poor language?

          You act like the English Language is just in the beginning parts of that movie Deliverance. Sorry to break this to you Nizzle, but the English Language has already been metaphorically sold into brutal slavery and is currently wearing cheap leapstick, dirty lingerie, and is waiting for the next sweaty john to take her for a ride.

          I don't know how much animation you watch, or perhaps Serenity, but I have the strong impression that communications 50 years from now wi

        • by suman28 (558822)
          It is typically written as "enterprise-cum-consumer", meaning "enterprise as well as / with consumer", but in the US? not sure about Europe, that word has becum known for other things besides the cleaner version
          • Yeah I know, that's my point. Some overzealous copy checker seized upon that word and corrected it to "come."

        • by worx101 (1799560)
          I have to ask, who was the guy who sat down and decided how English should be spoken? And, do we speak the same English today that was spoken 500 or even 200 years ago.
    • by unixan (800014)

      today is privacy Sunday, eh guys?

      It's DefCon weekend.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      When did India and UAE become the same country?

      That's what I get for sleeping in on Sunday...

  • How can we can keep private, secure communications from being blocked?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      not rely on a corporation to provide the service for you
      • Gee, thanks! Now find a non-corporate internet provider that can stay out of reach of government tentacles. In fact find a publicly accessible internet connection that is non-corporate at all. You neighbor's wifi doesn't count for obvious reasons. We'll have to build our own.. from scratch... that's invincible... We need people with the resources that are willing to do so.

        • you fail to understand what technical aspects are at stake.
          I access the internet through a corporate ISP but it doesn't mean I cannot use encrypted protocols to communicate.

          RIM doesn't provide internet access. It provides comminucation protocoles and server infrastructure for services. (and smartphones) The same way you could use free FLOSS decentralised solutions for encrypted communication adn that wouldn't be provided by a corporation of any kind. So his point stands.

          But seriously the issue here
        • by JSlope (1180805)
          My experience shows that unfortunately most people are not interested in their privacy. You'll have to find a lot of enthusiasts to implement to build your own ISP.
    • by dooode (1134443)

      I am not sure which country you are from. But if you are from US, there is a high probability the government already has access to all your emails, cellphone communications and messages. It is not that government cares about who you are, or people whom you talk to. Your communications are merely data nodes where these data elements are part of large networks that go through regular network analysis for keywords. If you happen to be some one from Sudan or Pakistan, with close association defined by your name

      • by WCguru42 (1268530)

        Now, you may call it a privacy breach. But if this analysis saves lives, why the heck should government not do that?

        And if US is allowed to do that, its duplicity to cry foul when India asks for the same?

        It is a privacy breach, and no the government shouldn't be doing it. The US might do it, but that doesn't mean it should be allowed to do so.

    • by selven (1556643)

      Encryption by default. And steganography by default (eg. Truecrypt's nested volumes).

  • Cum, not come (Score:3, Informative)

    by jone_stone (124040) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:43PM (#33103938) Homepage

    Am I really the first to point this out? The proper word there is "cum", not "come". Come on, people! Latin!

    -David

    • True, one need only watch the documentary Caligula to put the "cum" in "enterprise-cum-consumer" in context.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, come on people! Preferably, women. On their tits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Am I really the first to point this out? The proper word there is "cum", not "come". Come on, people! Latin!

      *smirk*

    • It is an Indian English issue.

      "Tea Boy cum Houseboy cum cleaner wanted"

      "My head is paining me" 'pain' used as a verb

      "he is not lifting the instrument" 'He is not answering the phone"

      2 BHK flat wanted 'BHK' = bedroom + hall + kitchen

      • by nashv (1479253)
        Being an Indian, and an English speaker , "My head is paining me" isn't Indian-English, it's just wrong. The others are remnants of the language during the Raj. A living room would be called a "hall" which is just not in vogue anymore though technically correct. Lifting the instrument comes from a transposition of "picking up the phone", as in old school landline days. "Cum" however is a perfectly valid expression. Latin for "with, together with, along with". Don't see how that is Indian-English.
        • by RandySC (9804)

          I am in an area with a large Indian population (particularly Keralite). I see these ads (BHK/cum) all the time on the bulletin board at the super market, and I hear pain used as a verb all the time. I even heard a Filipina use this phrase, but she is married to an Indian:)

  • India wants a RIM NOC in their country like the Chinese got.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @05:38PM (#33104518)

    Is that the very secure nature of the Blackberrys is precisely why the US government loves the things so much. They are RIM's biggest customer. They love all the security features BBs have, and love the Exchange integration.

    • by CxDoo (918501)

      Exchange integration is cool but I think they love it for Echelon integration.

  • I'm sure all terrorists use Blackberries. After all, it's a high-income job, right?
    • by dooode (1134443)

      Cellphone services are cheap in India. (Blackberry services start from Rs 249 per month == $5).

  • Boo-fucking-hoo.

    Stay out of people's lives.

    • So given that this is being raised in the context of intelligence agencies attempting to monitor communications between suspected terrorists, if/when an attack occurs will you say the same thing?

      (Not that I'm in favour of the whole PATRIOT act thing, but all too often those saying "government should stay out of people's lives" are those who clamour the most for increased power to intelligence agencies.)

    • by mano.m (1587187)
      I`d prefer my government not stay out of the lives of insurgents and of terrorists from across the border. India`s been fighting terrorism far longer than the word has been a part of the daily vocabularies of Americans.
    • by dooode (1134443)

      Boo-fucking-hoo to your post.

      I want my Government to save me from terrorist threats. Tracing calls from Terrorists has been one of the important tool. And in the past they have. If these telecom providers can cooperate with US agencies, why the heck Indian Govt not expect the same.

      Ans seriously, who needs blackberry. Google, Apple, Nokia all provide decent alternatives...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bhagwad (1426855)
        The privacy of Indian citizens is much more important than saving a few lives
        • Life and liberty are seldom if ever competing goals; they are almost always one and the same. The freedom of over a billion law-abiding Indian citizens, and the many lives that would be saved if murderous terrorist organizations called "governments" did not have the ability to spy on them, or to inspire the creation of competing terrorist organizations, go hand in hand.
  • by simpz (978228) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @06:25PM (#33105014)

    ..to a server outside the country.

    Or is it that most people when using other smartphones don't know or just don't bother to use the SSL versions of these services.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Have you seen your average smartphones' implementation of IMAP (SSL or not)?

      "Shocking" doesn't even begin to cover it. It's a minor miracle it works at all, and fancy features like IDLE are frequently not supported in any form. Frankly, even if I think it's an absurd reinvention of the wheel, I can see why IMAP on smartphones has never caught on.

  • Just the beginning (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joeszilagyi (635484) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @08:47PM (#33106036)

    Any communications product, vendor, or service that can't be backdoored by government(s) will be banned.

    • http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BlackBerry-server-in-China-India-wants-a-monitoring-unit-too/articleshow/6230540.cms

      Extract from the article:

      This is the second time that the (Indian) government has threatened to block the operations of BlackBerry. In the earlier instance, tensions were defused after RIM agreed to provide its encryption code to security agencies burdened with having to monitor the chatter among increasingly tech-savvy terrorists. The fresh confrontation comes after reports that RIM was ready to set up a server in China to address Chinese security concerns. Officials here believe that if the Canadian company can take care of China's concerns by reportedly setting up a server there, it can do the same for India which is an equally big market for BlackBerry.

    • by jeti (105266)

      Didn't the frequency hopping algorithms for standard cellphones have to be modified to make eavesdropping more easy? I'm quite certain that happened in Germany and I suspect in the rest of the world as well.

  • Indian government have been trying to find a solution for this for last 2 years with BB. Now there is urgency as BB has set up infra in China and all Indian calls will be routed via this infra. I am all for privacy but I will prefer Indian govt snooping on my data rather than china. And, as others have said, there is a legitimate requirement for Indian Govt to monitor all communications.
  • Does it make you wonder how much safer everyone would be if parkas, mailing envelopes, cash, and superglue were all evaluated on the same basis?

    Well, before they start messing with things like parkas, I hope they take a moment to remember Why Raincoats are Yellow... [blogspot.com]

  • by mahadiga (1346169)

    In America, Govt officials address you as Sir.
    In India, you've to address Govt officials as Sir.

  • Well, India is in good company. It appears that the United Arab Emirates will ban Blackberries starting in October [nytimes.com] because the government can't eavesdrop through the encryption, and Saudi Arabia may do the same.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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