In the last days there was frequently news in the newspaper that very soon blackberries might not be working in India anymore. The Indian government wants to fully block the services of any blackberry in India because they see the danger in it: terrorists might use them for sending each other information.
RIM, ‘Research in Motion’, the Canadian company that created and sells the blackberry, has a service called ‘blackberry enterprise service’ which encrypts emails and message that are sent from one blackberry to another. Messages thus cannot be read by anybody else than the recipient which is the reason why companies use it as they can securely send important data, too. This security is RIM’s promise to their customers.
The Indian government now wants to have the code with which they can read those messages, too, in order to prevent terroristic activities. RIM however refuses to provide the key to this secret. Their answer, according to today’s newspaper was something like: ‘Don’t ask us for this! If America can find a way, you can too!’ In the same article it is explained how America is doing it: they have hackers who hack the code and read the messages! Why are the blackberry makers encouraging India to steal data?
Following this revelation and discussion, the Indian government has already received offers by many Indian hackers who claim that they can decode and hack the messages for the government. The Indian talent when it comes to IT and software is well known. There are people who would be ready to do it. Home Ministry Officers however stated that the Ministry is not ready for stealing any data, even if it could be morally justifiable – hackers might even be saving lives with this work!
This was not the only service that the Indian government was critical about. However when they refused another one, blackberry’s messenger service, RIM agreed on opening the code for this one service for India. They still do not want to decode the enterprise service because they promise their customers that their data will be encrypted and unreadable to anybody. However they also do not want to lose the great booming Indian market.
You might ask yourself how I got inspired to write about this today. Of course I can understand the worries of government because India is a country in danger of terrorism. I like technique and technology and am interested in what is going on and this topic additionally has a moral aspect: the company insists that the government should use an illegal method to get the company’s data!
They anyway agree that the data will be visible to the government but they would rather have the government steal it themselves! I believe customers would understand the necessity of security and would prefer an open statement about this topic rather than being tricked into this. After this debate they will anyway know that the government can get their data.
Have a look at what is happening in the US: RIM promises that they do not give data to anybody themselves and they keep the promise but they know very well that the code is hacked and spread in the country for security reasons. This is not a way to keep your promise! I believe you also have to stay honest in business. Do not trick your customers, they will get to know it!