RIM to provide Indian government partial access

Many countries have asked for access to its messenger service over fears of misuse.
RIM to provide Indian government partial access
PARTIAL ACCESS: After fears of misuse of its messenger service, many countries have upped the ante on BlackBerry to provide access to its services. (Getty Images)
By Bappa Majumdar
Mon 16 Aug 2010 09:44 PM

Research In Motion (RIM) has assured Indian authorities of limited access to its messenger services by September 1 and will hold talks this week on giving access to enterprise mail, a government source said on Monday.

RIM faces an Aug 31 deadline to give Indian authorities the means to read email and instant messages sent over the BlackBerry.

On the conditions of anonymity, a senior government source said to Reuters: "They have assured partial access to its messenger services by September 1 and agreed to provide full access by the end of the year."

New Delhi says it will pull the plug if RIM does not comply, threatening its future in the world's fastest growing telecoms market.

An interior ministry official said: "We hope they will address our security concerns."

India is the latest country to step up pressure on RIM, which has built the BlackBerry's reputation around confidentiality.

Many business professionals and politicians prefer the device, but some governments, including Saudi Arabia, fear it could become a tool for terrorists or those breaking Islamic laws.

RIM has said BlackBerry's security is based on a system where customers create their own key, and the company has neither a master key or any "back door" to allow RIM or any third party to gain access to crucial corporate data.

RIM officials are expected to hold talks with the Indian government to explain the complexities of the enterprise mail system and try to find a solution, the government source said.

India's demands follow a deal with Saudi Arabia, where a source said RIM had agreed to give authorities codes for BlackBerry messenger users. The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Algeria are also seeking access.

India, like other countries, has been criticised for seeking blanket restrictions, while mobile phone operators say they must offer consumers privacy and secure communications. (Reuters)

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