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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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  • RIM Don't cave in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:41PM (#33398840)

    I hope they stand their ground.

  • by SteelRat (11640) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:42PM (#33398846) Homepage

    Do they want to secure customer data, or provide a documented mechanism for institutional wiretaps.

    They should pick one and stick with it.

  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:44PM (#33398862) Homepage


    "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.

    Keep their hands off the 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.'

    So if they had to do something that was a crime that would be punished in Canada to be compliant with India, it's excusable?

  • by straponego (521991) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:45PM (#33398868)
    RIM will capitulate, like they have everywhere else.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:51PM (#33398920)

    like they 'didnt' for the saudis?

    RIM is on my do-not-purchase list.

    there is no ethical reason to give away your REAL customer's security.

    the government is not your customer even though you sell a lot to them.

    PEOPLE (who deserve privacy) are your customers.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:05PM (#33399022)
    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. It isn't a matter of security or not, it is a 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 with respect to their neighbor nations. But shutting down RIM's business because India doesn't have cart-blanc access to any email sent over the devices doesn't really do anything in terms of actual security as 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 (which takes all of 1 hour to do) and running it out of a home or even a laptop, using any of the dozens of free dynamic dns systems available.
  • by causality (777677) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:09PM (#33399042)

    I hope they stand their ground.

    No joke. From the summary:

    'It need not have escalated to this level. Folks like RIM have to understand business is done differently here.'

    Sure. And if someone installed live cameras that monitor your bedroom and your bathroom 24/7, well that would just be "different" from the privacy you now enjoy.

    It's like Aesop said: "any excuse will serve a tyrant."

  • by MachDelta (704883) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:13PM (#33399082)

    A gov't ban pretty much ensures they will have no customers to protect. Their choices are "give it up", or "GTFO."

    Also, why bother boycotting them? Are you saying they never should have tried to cover their customers asses in the first place, and should have stuck with their competitions decision of not bothering with encryption? I say RIM deserves points for trying.

  • by straponego (521991) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:20PM (#33399120)
    Yes, because the only alternative to instantly obeying any desire of any government is suicide.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:20PM (#33399122) Journal

    Look pal, are you some kind of terrorist? Decent law abiding non-terrorist people don't use encryption. In fact, they send the contents of their inboxes to the authorities to make sure that they aren't inadvertently planning terrorist acts. Only evil bastards want encryption. Foul wicked scum who should be, and will be I promise you, taken out and shot, but not before torture... oh blessed torture... we'll attach battery cables to their testicles and drop vinegar in their eyeballs... oh yes... and as we strip them and kick them and dump water on them... oooh aahhhhhh

    Things are done differently here... I tell you... ooooh sooooo diffferently....

  • by causality (777677) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:21PM (#33399130)

    like they 'didnt' for the saudis?

    RIM is on my do-not-purchase list.

    there is no ethical reason to give away your REAL customer's security.

    the government is not your customer even though you sell a lot to them.

    PEOPLE (who deserve privacy) are your customers.

    If RIM caves, the correct response to this is to divest yourself of any stocks or funds that involve this company. If they cave, it will be because money is more important to them than the refusal to support institutionalized domestic spying, same story as always. If they cave, they would do it to preserve a profitable market. If the response to that causes their stock to be devalued and the company to have a very hard time retaining any capital, it would send the message that if you really care about profit, this is the wrong action to take.

    So, like with so many things, it's up to us. It's a matter of what we will and won't tolerate, what we will and won't support and go along with. Any single-mindedness regarding profit can also be used to discourage companies from following this example. In that sense it is both the problem and a solution. Which it will be is ultimately up to us, up to We the People. If we don't care enough to back that up with action, neither should RIM.

  • by saihung (19097) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:21PM (#33399136)

    First of all, that's rubbish. Articles 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India guarantee most of the same freedoms that people in any other democracy enjoy.

    As for this move, we understand their position, but we think it's wrong. Or is the concept of critical analysis too difficult?

  • by Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:33PM (#33399230) Homepage Journal

    Enough already with the scaredy tactics and mentioning of terrorists.

    Seriously, what happened with people's right to privacy?

    I'm sick and tired of this fear culture impinging on what I can and cannot do.

    And yes, I've lived through the IRA bombings in the iron mile in central London, so I am aware totally of "idiots" out there.

    I couldn't give a crap if they have encryption. Boo hoo if it makes the police's job difficult.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:38PM (#33399278)

    While I agree with you in principle, as the Indian government said, they do things differently there.

    One of my other principles is to let others live their lives the way they want to. If India wants to revolt against its government to change the rules, I'll support them. However, if they aren't willing to change their governments rules or if they want the rules that way for some reason, then thats their problem not mine.

    Who are you to impose you particular view of how the world should work on others? What if they are happy with their situation, even though you and I think its a raw deal?

  • Tough Call (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:44PM (#33399338) Journal

    As a Canadian, I'm happy to see RIM's success thus far, and obviously continued growth would need to take advantage of other markets, who have different laws. While it's not something RIM wants to do, I think they will eventually cave to India's demands.

    I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, RIM is in business, not politics. It is not their place to try and change things in India, it is the Indians'. On the other hand, to be ethical, they cannot knowingly place responsibility on a different authority if it is known that they will then act unethically. Ultimately, I think it will be better for the Canadian IT market if RIM just holds their nose and makes it happen. This is simply not a battle they can, or should win. If Indians don't like the way their government treats their privacy, they need to change things themselves.

  • by Lobachevsky (465666) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:09PM (#33399898)

    I'm sure the argument works both ways.

    1) Fail to respect the laws and regulations of a democratic country
    -- or --
    2) Benefit from trading with the 2nd largest mobile market in the world (635 million cell phones in India - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_India [wikipedia.org])

    Besides, RIM is not India's only cell phone provider. No longer doing business with RIM would mean fewer choices. It would not mean no choice. It is not a "economic suicide" scenario. It's more like a scenario of "which is more important to us: our laws, or a few more phone models added to our stores?"

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:15PM (#33399934) Journal

    There is huge difference in the way Indians perceive terrorism when compared to Americans. Americans easily dismiss govt. efforts such as these in the name of privacy invasion. But, when you are closer to getting your ass bombed by a neighborhood terrorist, then privacy is the last thing on your mind. You will be actually grateful that your govt is pulling all stops to giving terrorist easy options to communicate and escape their radar. Terrorism in India is daily reality. Its more direct. US has not faced a terror attack on its soil since 2001. India, OTOH, faces a huge terror attack every year (remember 26/11 Mumbai), in addition to attacks in Kashmir every other day. So, when Indians look at this issue, its much less about invasion of privacy and much more about security and closing gaps for insurgents (Maoists) and terrorists from across the border.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the very environment of fear and distrust is what breeds terrorism in the first place and that one of the reasons that the U.S. has had few terrorist attacks is that the vast majority of the public as a whole doesn't feel like the government is out to get them? We get to know our neighbors, and for the most part, if a neighbor were hatching a terrorist plot, usually somebody would notice. We do that because we know that the only thing standing between us and anarchy or tyranny is ourselves. Historically, the closer any country has come to being a police state, beyond a certain point, the more problems they have had. It's a vicious cycle, and the harder you try to clamp down, the more violent the dissent, until it becomes uncontrollable. That's basic psychology, really.

    Most of the intelligence attack trawthed by Indian Intelligence agencies are through wiretaps and intercepts of mobile calls between terrorists and their handlers across the border in Kashmir. So, from the point of Indian Intelligence agencies, its very important to intercept RIM calls as well. When you are faced with fear that the daily metro train you take to office might be blown off or that restaurant you visit for dinner might be attacked by gunmen, privacy invasion is the last thing on your mind. I am an Indian and have gone through such moments in my life. And I very well understand what my govt. is trying to do here!

    It would take any competent user all of five minutes to get around this. All you have to do is use an IMAP mail service other than RIM's. The people who care about using push email are not the terrorists. They are the businesses that employ your citizens. The terrorists couldn't give a rat's ass about push email. They use it because it is there. The second they get wind that RIM is going to make all their email available, they will migrate their data to Gmail, delete all their email, and close their accounts. By the time RIM actually capitulates, any information the Indian government could possibly hope to obtain will have long since been destroyed. And when the Indian government goes after Gmail, they'll move to Yahoo Mail. And when they go after Yahoo Mail, they'll move to something else. It's so easy to change ISPs that it is utterly naive to think that what you're talking about will have ANY real impact on terrorism.

    You can't stop terrorism by screwing over everyone else. That just makes your citizens angry and resentful of the government. And after long enough, those angry, resentful citizens decide to take up arms. Then, a terrorist cell is born.

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:19PM (#33399962) Homepage
    Pretty much every telecom company obeys the local laws. Your advice is to divest from every telecom company? What does that accomplish?

    People, S/MIME exists for a reason. India can't break it. RIM can't break it. The NSA can't break it. Get a free S/MIME cert and enjoy your privacy on ANY network.
  • by thePig (964303) <{rajmohan_h} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:32PM (#33400032) Journal

    I am not sure whether /. users appreciate the whole situation in India.
    Terrorists using blackberry is an actual problem [telegraph.co.uk] here. Also, the threat of terrorists here is a real one - unlike in most other countries - with many countries actually pouring money in to push [indiatimes.com] terrorism to India.

    Before the current home minister came in with somewhat tight security and controls, we used to have a lot [wikipedia.org] of terrorist attacks in India. The current homeminister radically decreased the number of incidents by overall increasing the security - while not too much impinging on the privacy till now.

    Most of the security was through surveillance, which was being hamstrung by the enemy using blackberry for communication. So by creating this hullaballoo and then RIM publicly accepting it, terrorist will stop using blackberry for communication, thus increasing the effectiveness of surveillance.

    I do accept the view point of - those who gives up privacy for security deserves neither.
    But terrorism is such a big actual problem here - with more than 800 sleeper cells currently, people are going to accept this - otherwise there is going to be daily bombings and deaths.

  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:53PM (#33400130) Homepage Journal

    Hmm, so you are basically saying, before blackberry came, there was no terrorism in India? Or blocking blackberry will somehow close all aveues of encryption(ssh etc.,?)
    Its due to idiots like you that we hardly have any privacy left in India, and the corrupt govt officials snoop on anybody at will.

  • by causality (777677) on Friday August 27, 2010 @09:02PM (#33400178)

    I am not sure whether /. users appreciate the whole situation in India. Terrorists using blackberry is an actual problem [telegraph.co.uk] here. Also, the threat of terrorists here is a real one - unlike in most other countries - with many countries actually pouring money in to push [indiatimes.com] terrorism to India.

    Before the current home minister came in with somewhat tight security and controls, we used to have a lot [wikipedia.org] of terrorist attacks in India. The current homeminister radically decreased the number of incidents by overall increasing the security - while not too much impinging on the privacy till now.

    Most of the security was through surveillance, which was being hamstrung by the enemy using blackberry for communication. So by creating this hullaballoo and then RIM publicly accepting it, terrorist will stop using blackberry for communication, thus increasing the effectiveness of surveillance.

    I do accept the view point of - those who gives up privacy for security deserves neither. But terrorism is such a big actual problem here - with more than 800 sleeper cells currently, people are going to accept this - otherwise there is going to be daily bombings and deaths.

    In my view of viewing things terrorism is merely a symptom of far deeper underlying problems with government and society and with international affairs. In the face of that, secure e-mail is barely a footnote. If a government can completely and totally monitor all communications by all people within its borders, it has succeeded only in addressing a means to an end. It has not and likely will not address why so many people want to become terrorists in the first place, what motivates them, why they do what they do, and how to actually prevent this phenomenon by addressing its root causes.

    Nobody ever wants to really look at root causes. They're too busy making sure a good crisis "doesn't go to waste" as an Obama staffer put it (don't think for a moment that this idea is limited to USA politics). They just want to exert as much control as possible over the means to an end. They want to make terrorism as difficult as possible by those who wish to carry it out because that means more police power for them. No one seems to want to make fewer people consider becoming terrorists in the first place. Addressing the type of political and social unrest that makes once-harmless people consider such drastic measures might mean taking a hard look at foreign and domestic policy with a willingness to drastically alter the status quo towards a pro-freedom position, and no one in power really wants to do that. It would reduce their power.

    I'm not saying that terrorists are something other than scum. They are. I'm saying that you are dealing with nations that, based on their actions, have the attitude of "well if we're going to have terrorism anyway, things like the USA's Patriot Act that we could have never passed without active attacks sure do sweeten the deal". That's part of the problem. Anyone who gets what they want due to terrorism, directly or indirectly, is part of the problem of terrorism. Unfortunately that includes many state actors.

  • Re:question: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrops (927562) on Friday August 27, 2010 @09:33PM (#33400354)

    "Business here is done differently".

    they didn't bribe and/or bribe the right person.

    It doesn't even have to be money, a few hot chicks from Montreal would have done the job. Even take pictures to blackmail pricks causing a problem.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday August 27, 2010 @09:56PM (#33400446)

    Apparently neither do you. I'm willing to concede I might be confused, as I don't actually use this feature of the Blackberry. However a statement of "You don't know what you are talking about," without any clarification, reference, etc implies that you are either just being contrary, or are not confident enough in your knowledge to state it.

    Regardless, it is a completely useless post to just say "You are wrong." Fine, the present your reasoning and what you believe to be correct. If you make a habit of just yelling at people when they are wrong rather than trying to enlighten them, you have no cause to call them out on their ignorance since you are not willing to help fix it.

    So let's hear it then.

  • by BangaIorean (1848966) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @01:46AM (#33401426)
    Frankly, it's the Indians who need to be telling you this. Globalization doesn't mean you get to pick and choose those attributes of trade which fit your needs best. When you understand this so well, why is it that we constantly hear angry voices from the USA about outsourcing, which is a direct result of globalization? Not a single India related post on slashdot is complete without an anti-outsourcing rant by some smartass. Why is it that I don't see guys like you replying to such people with something like: "Hey, this is globalization, deal with it"?
  • Re:terrorists (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BangaIorean (1848966) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @01:55AM (#33401456)
    Does that apply to the 9/11 terrorists too, or does your statement apply only to anti-India terrorists?
  • "Freedom" fighters (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gd2shoe (747932) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:06AM (#33401486) Journal

    A vast majority of terrorists do not deserve the appellation of "freedom fighter".

    Intentional targeting of innocent civilians is inherently at odds with freedom.

  • by cyberjessy (444290) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:13AM (#33401504) Homepage

    I couldn't agree more.

    To our left is Pakistan and Afganisthan (two of the most dangerous countries in the world).
    And another on the north, which has a firewall on their entire population and doesn't even have a free press.

    These guys are right next door, not a couple of oceans and a continent away.

    Also, freedom of speech, dissent and media is reasonably well protected here.
    It is difficult for the government to come up with any Orwellian scheme.

  • by Some Bitch (645438) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:11AM (#33402298)

    • Behave like a democratic government instead of a tinpot dictatorship, in which case this quietly goes away. No, they don't get to monitor, but secure methods of communication exist anyway. One more makes no difference.

    They're only asking for the same as the US government required, or are they on your tinpot dictatorship list too?

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