Research in Motion Ltd. confirmed that it is extending an offer to the Government of India, in a statement released Thursday.
The offer proposes the establishment of an industry forum, led by RIM in India, that would support “the lawful access needs of law enforcement agencies while preserving the legitimate information security needs” of corporations and organizations.
“The industry forum would work closely with the Indian government and focus on developing recommendations for policies and processes aimed at preventing the misuse of strong encryption technologies while preserving its many societal benefits in India,” states RIM.
RIM also emphasized its desire to “unequivocally clarify certain misperceptions.” The first misperception is that it is possible for RIM to provide keys to decode or decrypt encrypted data through the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution (BES).
“RIM does not possess a ‘master key,’ nor does any ‘back door’ exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party, under any circumstances, to gain access to encrypted corporate information,” states RIM.
The security architecture for BES was purposefully designed to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information and RIM would simply be unable to accommodate any request for a copy of a customer’s encryption key, states the company.
A second misperception is that the location of BlackBerry Infrastructure can assist government efforts to access encrypted information.
BES’s security architecture was also purposefully designed to perform as a global system independent of geography, so the location of infrastructure and choice of wireless network are irrelevant factors from a security perspective, states RIM.
“The transmission of encrypted data is no more decipherable or less secure based on the location of RIM’s BlackBerry Infrastructure or the customer’s selection of a wireless network,” states the company.
The third misperception is the idea that the company has offered solutions to certain governments while denying the same solutions to other governments.
RIM said while it “does not disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with government,” the company “maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries.”
The statement also highlights the fact that strong encryption is not unique to the BlackBerry platform. To single out and ban one solution, states RIM, would be ineffective because there are other services with strong encryption available on the market.
“This challenge can only be truly overcome if the Information and Communications Technology industry comes together as a whole to work with the Government of India,” states RIM.