Can Jaipur’s ‘Bharat Berry’ to counter Canada’s BlackBerry?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

JAIPUR - An Indian entrepreneur says he has invented a third way to ease the use of Blackberry services in the country, which could pose a problem to its Canadian manufacturer-Research In Motion Ltd.


The other two outcomes were to allow local intelligence agencies get to snoop at messages from the handsets and, or for governments to shut them down.jay Data, 37, is a computer scientist, and he read a newspaper article about the high-stakes negotiations between RIM and the Government of India, which promises to cut off the country’s estimated one million Blackberry subscribers if a deal on surveillance cannot be finalized by January 31.

Data rushed into action, assigning 30 programmers to design a system that allows users to send and receive e-mail from their BlackBerries without relying on RIM’s servers. Messages are shunted through a server in Jaipur, allowing Indian security forces to monitor the traffic if necessary.

According to the Globe and Mail, he called his service Bharat Berry, using the local word for the Indian subcontinent, and claims that 150,000 people downloaded his software in the first 15 days after the service debuted at the end of October.

Data acknowledges that his new business might suffer if, as local sources have suggested, RIM is about to settle with India. A similar disagreement with Saudi Arabia ended when the Canadian company agreed to install a server in that country.

“If RIM sets up a server in India, I will have difficulty selling this here, but they won’t set up servers everywhere in the world,” Data said.

The Bharat Berry could prove popular in countries that want to monitor their citizens’ messages but lack the political clout or spy technology of their bigger neighbours, he said, describing recent talks in Nepal as “promising.”

In an e-mailed statement, RIM dismissed the Bharat Berry as unimportant.

“RIM does not view the Data Infosys service as a viable alternative for BlackBerry customers,” the company said.

It added: “Further, RIM’s discussions with the government of India continue to be positive and constructive and RIM is committed to serving its customers and growing its business in India.” (ANI)

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