Mobility

Should encryption be outlawed?

Telecommunications Secretary Siddhartha Behura, the top official in the telecommunications ministry, has clarified that India does not intend to ban RIM's BlackBerry services in the country.

Telecommunications Secretary Siddhartha Behura, the top official in the telecommunications ministry, has clarified that India does not intend to ban RIM's BlackBerry services in the country. Indeed, the telecommunications department was "very keen" that the services should continue, according to ZDNet News.

A furore erupted last week when India's Union Home Ministry rejected newest entrant Tata Teleservices' application to offer BlackBerry services. Security concerns with regards to terrorism was cited, with the explanation that the secure nature of the BlackBerry platform does not allow for any data interception. Observers note the bizarre clincher that other Indian telecommunications companies already offer the BlackBerry in India.

The decision is all the more strange when you consider that other popular push mail technologies, such as Microsoft's Direct Push, also allow encrypted transfer of data via SSL. Anyway, this clarification puts the India BlackBerry debate squarely into the realm of regulatory impartiality instead.

Still, the initial cited explanation of "security concerns" does bring out the age-old debate. Won't terrorists with access to military-grade encryption be able to thwart the efforts of security agencies? Even the FBI seems to think so, if the allegations of back door access to a major wireless carrier turns out to be true.

Does encryption hinder law enforcement? In the same token, should encryption be banned?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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