Blackberry manufacturer set Aug 31 deadline

By ANI
Thursday, August 12, 2010

NEW DELHI - Research in Motion (RIM), the company which produces Blackberry phones has been given time till August 31 to comply with the government’s demand for access to encryption details.

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Private service providers Vodafone and Airtel were not present at the meeting.

According to a TV channel, these mobile phone operators said that they were not invited to the meeting and that a top RIM official had meet home ministry officials.

The Home Ministry said that if there were no solution, the government would ask mobile phone operators to block BlackBerry messaging and email until RIM provides access to data transmitted over the handset.

India’s security establishment wants RIM to give it access to encrypted messages in a readable format. Officials say RIM has proposed helping India track emails without sharing encryption details, but that is not enough.

Corporate and consumer customers both use its BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging.

BlackBerry users in India would only be able to use the devices for phone calls and Internet browsing if the shutdown is being imposed. And over 41 million users of the smart phones would be affected.

The Indian demands follow a deal with Saudi Arabia, where a source said RIM has agreed to give authorities codes for BlackBerry Messenger users.

India seeks access to both email and Messenger, while Saudi Arabia has only targeted the instant messaging service.

India fears BlackBerry could provide cover for militant activities. In 2008, a Pakistani-based group used mobile and satellite phones to coordinate attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

The BlackBerry image could suffer if users feel RIM has compromised its Enterprise email system long valued by business executives and politicians for secure communications.

Unlike rivalsThe companies like Nokia and Apple, it operates its own network through secure servers in Canada and elsewhere, while RIM is alone among its competitors in facing such demands.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone’s India unit are the largest providers of BlackBerry services in India.

While national security appears to be India’s main concern, Middle Eastern countries are concerned that BlackBerry users may spread pornography or violate restrictions on contact between unrelated men and women. (ANI)

Filed under: Blackberry, India, Nokia

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