RIM and Indonesia battle it out over security concerns

Title: Devices English: BlackBerrys at The Mus...

Blackberrys

Adding to the woes of Blackberry, Indonesian Telecommunication Regulation Body (BRTI) has threatened to end Blackberry’s messenger service popularly known as BBM after the firm refused to set up a network aggregator in the country and instead opted for Singapore for BBM servers. It has been reported by media in Indonesia, which has quoted a member of BRTI, saying: “Because RIM has not been cooperative, it is possible that we will soon end BIS or BlackBerry Internet Service) and BBM service. BlackBerry therefore, would just be like other cellular phones.”

Indonesia is home to the largest number of Blackberry users in Southeast Asia. Indonesian government has cited security reasons for insisting on hosting servers in the country. Currently, it is impossible for the government to access and monitor any of the data flowing through BIS and BBM, which is processed in Canada, the home of Research in Motion (RIM), manufacturers of Blackberry.On Saturday, RIM came out with clarifications over the issue stating that Indonesian government has given no advice especially on setting up of data center in the country, which lead to their decision of establishing the unit in Singapore.

Earlier in the year, RIM had promised to fulfil four key demands of the government, which included providing customer care and service centers, facilitating lawful interception, blocking pornographic content and building a regional data center called a network aggregator.However, the agreement between the government and RIM did not specify the location of the data centre that would allow the government to monitor data sent by Indonesians over Blackberry services.

BRTI has cautioned Indonesians about using Blackberry services considering that the safety of the data cannot be guaranteed by the government. Though RIM  in the past has shared some information with  governments around the world, a nd maintains that there is no way possibly to monitor the messenger services. BBM services are maintained through RIM’s data centres in Canada without any local nodes in any of the host countries. Though the governments around the world have pressurised the company to share users data, RIM has fought hard to maintain the promise of encrypted and safe data service to the users, which is often used by corporations for their sensitive dealings. Such controversies are not new for Research in Motion, which faced similar threats from the governments of India, UAE and Saudi Arabia in the past. Though yet to be seen how this battle plays out and whether any compromise could be reached any time soon.

The current fiscal has not been a particularly good year for RIM, which announced last week that the firm would be taking charges worth over half a billion dollars due to two major failures this year. The first failure is due to the over production of playbook tablets, which amounted to $485million. The second disaster to struck RIM was prolonged network outages in October in different countries.

Above is my article originally published in Daily Post, view it here

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