The Department of Telecommunications has granted a six month-extension to MTNL for installing a system that will enable lawful real-time interception of BlackBerry services, as required by security agencies, reports confirm.
The state-run telco had approached DoT in mid-April seeking an extension to the deadline by six months, to which the latter agreed. “It is requested to kindly extend the date of technical solution for monitoring of Blackberry services in its Delhi and Mumbai networks by six months so that the services can be continued to the important dignitaries of government of India,” MTNL CMD AK Garg wrote to DoT, as per sources.
The deadline had been earlier set for April 30, 2013. Reportedly, it is the third time that the body extended the deadline for MTNL from the previously set deadline of December 31, 2012, since being a public sector company it can “purchase the solution through a tender process only which is taking time”.
Extension to implement system to intercept BB services
Interestingly, Garg also said that other PSU telco BSNL was also facing a similar problem, and that it would probably seek an extension too. This isn't confirmed, though.
Reportedly, MTNL had roughly 3,773 customers using BlackBerry services at the end of last year – including, Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior government officials.
As for the private telcos, it is believed that they have installed the BB monitoring solution by December 31, 2012, after BlackBerry made a solution available.
It has been largely reported in the past, that security agencies in the country were unable to decode the communication made through the company's devices and systems, and hence, these were perceived as a security threat.