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RIM Finds Answer To Alleviate Security Concerns In India

January 13, 2011

Research in Motion (RIM) said on Thursday that it has found a way out of an ongoing standoff in India over allowing security agencies access to the smartphone’s encrypted messaging service.

However, the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry said in a statement that the solution did not include providing access to corporate email services.

India gave RIM until January 31 to come up with a solution that would permit its intelligence agencies to monitor encrypted data.

RIM said its revised access capability “meets the standard required by the government of India for all consumer messaging services.”

The statement also said that Indian agencies will now be able to monitor the BlackBerry’s messenger and public email services, but not corporate emails.

RIM’s representatives have met home and telecommunications ministry officials repeatedly in an effort to end a three-year deadlock over the issue.

Banning BlackBerry’s service would disrupt India’s corporations, which widely use the smartphones for business.  The smartphone has 1.1 million users in India, including many non-corporate clients.

India’s minister of state for communications Sachin Pilot said last month that there has been no answer to the standoff found.

The January 31 date was the third time that the government has extended the deadline for BlackBerry to meet its requirements.

The United Arab Emirates withdrew a threatened ban on BlackBerry services in October after it said that they had been brought into compliance with the Gulf state’s regulatory framework, though it did not provide details of the changes.

India also made stances against Google and Skype, saying they must set up servers in the country to allow law enforcers to screen traffic, as the country widens its security offensive on Internet communications firms.

BlackBerry has become a global market leader in the smartphone sector thanks to its heavy encryption, and analysts said that any compromise with the Indian government could inevitably damage its popularity with its high-profile clientele.

RIM said on Monday that it would start filtering web services in Indonesia after the mainly Muslim country threatened to restrict or block the company’s domestic services in order to prevent access to Internet pornography.

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