Tech companies work along with the Government. The recent revelations from Guardian with the help of Whistle Blower Edward Snowden showed the world how NSA was accessing data from different tech companies. Microsoft is the latest though it had earlier denied the reports of assisting NSA.
India has been putting pressure on social networking companies and messaging apps in the name of national concern. The first request was made by the UPA government initially during the India Against Corruption movement and later during the NE tensions. BlackBerry has been one company that has been in the mid of controversy for its hard to break encryption technology for Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app.
Indian government has been behind the company for some time now putting all kinds of pressure so that it gives access to its encrypted data by setting up a local server. BlackBerry has shown a strong resistance but the Indian Government had its final word. The official statement is that, “The lawful interception system for Blackberry Services is ready for use.”
The company has released an official statement on the issue and has stated that it has given access to India’s wireless carriers to address their lawful access requirements for our consumer messaging services, which include BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) email.
“As informed earlier BlackBerry has delivered a solution that enables India’s wireless carriers to address their lawful access requirements for our consumer messaging services, which include BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) email. The lawful access capability now available to BlackBerry’s carrier partners meets the standard required by the Government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace. We also wish to underscore, once again, that this enablement of lawful access does not extend to BlackBerry Enterprise Server.”
However the company has clarified that the new development wouldn’t be affecting its BlackBerry Enterprise Server. In other words the Indian Government still can’t get complete control over BlackBerry.
It is not surprising to see BlackBerry giving up to the demands of the India Government finally. The company was even warned that it could face a complete ban from the country. BlackBerry couldn’t afford to lose its Indian customer base at a time when the mobile market is being dominated by iOS and Android devices. The company’s market shares dropped from 12.3 percent to 1.2 percent between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.
What is interesting to see is the moves being made by the Indian Government to control the online and mobile activities of its citizens. Online privacy is a mere myth today. The Indian government is not only forcing foreign companies to set up local servers but also at the same time it is building its own Prism- Centralised Monitoring System.