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Security Cellphones Communications Encryption Government Handhelds Privacy Your Rights Online

BlackBerry Battle In India Going Down To the Wire 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the rock-and-a-hard-place dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "With just days before the deadline, BlackBerry's maker was shot down by India in its latest effort to avoid having its services cut off for about a million Indian users of the device. Research in Motion's effort to broaden the debate over data encryption were rejected. The Indian government wants access to users' emails. The head of a powerful industry group in India accused RIM of taking the wrong approach to negotiations, saying, 'It need not have escalated to this level. Folks like RIM have to understand business is done differently here.'"
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BlackBerry Battle In India Going Down To the Wire

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  • by mjwalshe (1680392) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:51PM (#33398918)
    "business is done differently here."

    sounds like a shakedown for a bribe to me
  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:13PM (#33399086) Homepage

    > business is done differently here.

    Yeh, that's a funny thing. In Europe, we spent seven years building a movement and fighting software patents. In India, they were proposed, and fought over for three weeks, and discussed in the media for maybe one week, and the government retracted the software patents proposal.

    The issue isn't over, but things are certainly done different over there. I discussed it with some locals there and they told me that foreign interference doesn't go down well. Not at all. Red Hat sent a letter to the Indian government saying that software patents are dumb. (Well done Red Hat! You were our only supporter!) Locals told me that Red Hat took a chance with that letter. Other companies that try too hard to pressure the government get kicked out.

    The software patent battle there is still in progress there, but foreigners should be wary of their preconceptions of how lobbying is done.

  • Re:RIM Don't cave in (Score:1, Informative)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:41PM (#33399310) Homepage

    Like nearly all corporations today, 99% of the stock is in either the current board of directors or institutional hands. What little is out there in private hands is meaningless. Not sure when this trend started, but every IPO I have ever heard of is all about selling to institutional investors such as pension and mutual funds.

    If you are using a Blackberry without a corporate email connection, by all means drop it. However, be aware that the only customers RIM cares a hoot about are the corporate clients that simply mandate what their employees will be using and pass out the phones by the hundreds.

    For example, I know the FBI is 100% Blackberry. Every agent, office worker, whatever, down to the level of janitorial supervisors. How many phones do you think that is? 10,000? 20,000? Virtually the entire Fortune 500 are going to be 100% Blackberry so you can multiply that by 500 and start to get an idea of who exactly RIM cares about. Yes, that is at least 10 million phones. The individual users are a rounding error.

    Now, when upper management goes to India for a business meeting with the folks they outsourced the entire IT department to and they are told by the corporate security folks they have to leave their phones at home that might actually cause a stir. Now this would be blatently untrue - that isn't the sort of connection that the Indian government could monitor, but it would be a great scare tactic. After a couple of people hear "the Indian government is listening in" it might not take much to switch the entire company to Blackjack phones or something else like that. Now that RIM would notice.

    The only people this would affect are those with email accounts accessed through their phone carrier. RIM is fully in control of the encryption there. Corporate systems using their own Blackberry server can't be affected because RIM isn't in control of the encryption at all.

  • by pankajmay (1559865) on Friday August 27, 2010 @07:32PM (#33399682)

    I think India needs to understand that for a service like RIM's if the people purchasing it can't trust it to carry their own private thoughts/conversations, then people won't pay for the service anyway...matter of privacy vs big brother government... I can respect that India has issues with terrorist acts and is in a geo-political volatile area... there are thousands of other ways to send the same information securely, including but not limited to free internet email systems, to even setting up their own private email server...dozens of free dynamic dns systems available.

    I agree with what you say. Coming from India, let me add the following perspectives:

    1. What you say is absolutely correct, however the Indian bureaucracy is legendary for its arrogant and corrupt ways. In fact, the closing statement of the article "... business is done here differently." should provide an invaluable insight. This is why most outsiders scratch their heads about how India functions. Above all, following protocols is a big thing in India. You have to navigate things in a very particular way -- grease and please everyone along the way and in a very rigid protocol. Follow that, and the merit of your case actually plays a very small role in getting you the meat. Ignore it, and even if you are the most qualified by a wide margin, you will be left outside.
    2. Finally, the actual issue of the case is left far behind -- the bureaucracy will convert this into a nationalist patriotic jingoism (for example: RIM is being arrogant towards India.. blah...blah... discrimination...), once this happens (it already has to a certain extent) -- the conservative people will take the stage with rhetoric. Logic, reasoning, and sane questioning will be thrown out of the window.

    It is sad, but unless the intellectuals in India start demanding more share of limelight and direct the discussion for its merit, I can only see a couple of options for RIM -- bend to the will and follow the sick protocol OR butt out and be made a public enemy in the eyes of the populace.

  • Re:RIM Don't cave in (Score:4, Informative)

    by Prune (557140) on Friday August 27, 2010 @10:11PM (#33400490)
    Please mod parent down: as of 2009, 80% of blackberry customers are non-corporate consumers: http://www.twice.com/article/295368-RIM_Majority_Of_BlackBerry_Users_Now_Consumers_Small_Businesses.php [twice.com]
  • Re:RIM Don't cave in (Score:3, Informative)

    by vux984 (928602) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:13AM (#33401804)
    RIM is on my do-not-purchase list. Sorry, why? Which other provider offers end-to-end encryption a la Blackberry enterprise server? Does Android do a better job? Nope. Windows Mobile? Nope. Apple? LMAO. So basically you are boycotting RIM to support companies who never offered the level of security RIM -still- offers everywhere it can?
  • by rxan (1424721) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#33403776)

    Alright then.

    BES is just an e-mail communication link for Blackberries.

    BES and BIS includes the MDS (mobile data service) which also encrypts most data. There are certain exclusions such as streaming technologies which may not go through RIM's infrastructure. But it is an end-to-end solution.

    Now when a company hosts their own BES I believe that non-email data will still go through RIM's servers. Not sure if a company can host their own MDS servers though.

    So that's what I know. I know that most people on /. will tear you apart for the slightest bit of misinformation. So I decided to say little. Sorry if that ticked you off.

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