UPDATED! India to Spy on Blackberry, Make Steve Jobs' Day?

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When Steve Jobs took the stage at the iPhone SDK Roadmap event, it was with business eyes fixed squarely on market leader RIM's Blackberry device:

"Why aren't CIOs really worried about security? Every email message sent to or from a RIM device goes through a NOC up in Canada. Now, that provides a single point of failure, but it also provides a very interesting security situation. Where someone working up at that NOC could potentially be having a look at your email. Nobody seems to be focused on that. We certainly are."

And so is the Indian government it seems! Engadget sums up the current situation, which seems like it couldn't have been scripted better for Apple if El Jobso himself held the knife... er... pen:

Apparently the Indian government is demanding that RIM either allow it to snoop on its encrypted email service (or worse, drop down to 40-bit encryption), or shut down the entire Indian Blackberry network at the end of the month. That'll cut off an estimated 400,000 subscribers...

Unlike RIM's three-tiered true "push" model that routes everything through the NOC, Apple has licensed Microsoft's competing pseudo-"push" technology, ActiveSync, which relays mail directly between Exchange servers and the iPhone. This would mean that, rather than simply going after a single manufacturer like RIM to snoop on every user's email, a government would have to go after every single Exchange server in every single business in the country -- a potentially much more complicated and difficult process.

Is this a tempest in a teapot, or should Indian Crackberry addicts be worried? Would government "spying" on email lead you away from a Blackberry and towards an iPhone or even (merciful Buddha) a WinMob device? (Treo bone for completeness).

UPDATE (via Engadget):

Today the Indian government ruled out banning the BlackBerry service. Instead, the government will continue working with the Telecom Commission on security matters

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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