Analytical and Synthetic Approach

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Problem Statement:
Conflict between people’s right to privacy and government’s right to information to ensure the security of the country. (Case in discussion: RIM’s Blackberry)

Problem Description:
The Indian government is expressing security concerns over some Blackberry services that cannot be kept under electronic surveillance. The government demands access to tap BlackBerry’s highly encrypted corporate email and messenger services. They have asked the RIM officials to provide them a key to monitor their content and threatened to block their services, in India, if they fail to oblige.

Social networks, location-based services on mobile phones and a host of other innovations have greatly increased our ability to share large amount of personal information online. Yet, it leaves us vulnerable to the scrutiny of criminals, companies and control-freak governments.


Q. What are the possible options available with the company (RIM)?

A. As the concerns of the government are linked with security, there is very little probability that RIM will be able to get away with this without making arrangements for sharing real time data. The options that the company has are: 1. Establish a server in India which would provide real time access to the data being transferred between the two parties. 2. Provide a system which provides lawful access to customer data. 3. Do not compromise on its security and exit its operations from the country.

Q. What is the scale of operations which will be affected by the ban?

A. According to official figures, there are over a million Blackberry users in India. Hundreds of companies and even government officials in India are using Blackberry services. The ban will mean losing out on a growing market like India which is projected to have the largest cellular customer base in the world. As RIM has penetrated through most of corporate India, this would also affect...
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