US Commission probing if India intercepted its emails

A hacked memo allegedly from India's military states that the country intercepted the emails with the help of mobile phone companies

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) has asked for an investigation after hackers posted online a memo purportedly from India's military, which claimed that the country had intercepted emails of USCC officials with the help of Nokia, Research In Motion, and Apple.

"We are aware of these reports and have contacted relevant authorities to investigate the matter," said USCC spokesman Jonathan Weston on Monday. "We are unable to make further comments at this time," he added.

The memo, allegedly from the Directorate General of Military Intelligence, Foreign Division, in New Delhi, said that as India did not have access to the USCC local area network, which was a prime target in connection with arch-rival People's Republic of China, India had signed an agreement with mobile manufacturers in return for giving these companies access to the Indian market.

The memo stated that the military used "backdoors" provided by RIM, Nokia, Apple and unspecified others.

The Indian military could not be reached for comment. A local news site however quoted a Indian military spokesman as saying that the documents were forged and were posted online with malicious intent.

Nokia did not respond to a request for comment. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said that Apple denies that backdoor access was provided, and declined to comment on the memo.

RIM said in a statement that it does not typically comment on rumors or speculation. It referred to its published "Lawful Access Principles" which state that its security architecture is the same around the world and RIM has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys. RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries, it added.

The USCC was set up by the U.S. Congress in October, 2000 to monitor, investigate and report to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the U.S. and China.

India has a long-standing border dispute with China, and the two countries went to war in 1962.

The emails cited in the memo as evidence of the successful interception included mails from USCC executive director Michael Danis, and member Larry Wortzel.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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