Recently Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently sponsored a Bill on the floor of the National Assembly and was kicked against by Nigerians from all works of life. The Bill which was at the draft stage was titled ‘Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations’. The Bill if passed will empower security agencies in the country to monitor telephony, internet and other electronic communications as part of measures by the government to secure lives and property.
Else where in India, the Government has successfully embraced a similar Bill and Blackberry has provided the Indian Government with a method of intercepting messages sent on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), according to a leaked document from the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DOT) obtained by the Times of India.
The Indian government had threatened to shut down BlackBerry services if the company did not provide such a system, but authorities now appear to be satisfied, bringing an end to the long running dispute. Nine of India’s ten major operators are currently in the process of deploying the system, which also provides access to BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS). “Barring a few minor points for improvement of viewers, the lawful interception system for BlackBerry Services is ready for use,” said the document.
BlackBerry confirmed to the newspaper that it has indeed provided such a system, but was keen to stress that it did not provide access to business emails over BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES). Blackberry has also offered to train up to five government officials at its base in Ontario to handle the technical architecture, operation and maintenance of the monitoring facility.
BlackBerry established a surveillance lab in India in October 2011 and first tested the system on Vodafone’s network in Mumbai later that year. However the intercepted information was not in a readable format and the government issued more demands on tracking BBM messages and emails, repeating its shutdown threat.
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