‘Security agencies unable to decrypt intercepted communications’

August 17th, 2011 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) The government admitted Wednesday said the security agencies are still not able to decrypt intercepted communications of telecom operators, including BlackBerry to readable format.

“The security agencies are able to access the encrypted data and virtual private network data transfers of multi-national telecom vendors including BlackBerry through lawful interception and monitoring facilities by the telecom operators. However, the security agencies have intimated that they are not able to decrypt the encrypted intercepted communication to readable format,” said Communications Minister Kapil Sibal in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Service providers are providing services such as BlackBerry email, Nokia messaging and Skype and other services across the globe for sharing audio, video, image, email, data and accessing other web services anytime and anywhere in the world.

The security of these services is achieved through encryption technology, the minister said.

He also said that a technical committee established by the government has analysed the security issues in order to work out an appropriate solution which balances the requirements of security agencies with the secured communication needs of trade, commerce and industry.

However, the committee was unable to come out with unanimous conclusive recommendations.

The report of the committee and the comments of some of the members in the report were referred to a high level panel of experts who have since submitted their final recommendations.

So far all the telecom service providers and internet service providers have been mandated to provide the lawful interception and monitoring facilities to security agencies as a part of their license terms and conditions.

Recently Canadian BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) was in the news for its talks with India’s security establishment over access to encrypted data sent on BlackBerry devices while the Canadian firm has been ruling out “selective” decoding of e-mails and SMSes.

According to the company, it does not possess a “master key” to provide third party access to the key or any corporate data sent via BlackBerry devices.

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