Home BlackBerry’s Position in India Shakier than Reported

BlackBerry’s Position in India Shakier than Reported

American news media reported today that a deal between Research in Motion and the Indian government over data accessed by BlackBerry users was imminent, suggesting that the company’s position in India was in flux but ultimately secure.

Not so, Indian news sources are reporting now. “BlackBerry maker RIM denies knowledge of accord with India,” reports the Hindustan Times, and the Times of India is reporting that the Indian government is bypassing RIM altogether – “Yank BlackBerry services, govt tells telecom firms.”

“Bypassing Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry phones, the government has now asked telecom operators to make arrange for interception and monitoring of BlackBerry’s messenger and enterprise services in readable format by August 31, or block these services,” the Times of India reports.

The Indian government wants to monitor the communication for security reasons, it has said. The government fears the phone could be used by terrorists to plan attacks.

The telecom operators don’t have the ability to intercept encrypted email and SMS sent via BlackBerries and would have to resort to a blackout, the Times reported.

Today American news media reportedRIM said it would allow the government to intercept “partial access” to its messenger services by September 1 and “complete access” by December; however it made no offer regarding its corporate email service. Shares of RIM fell 4.8% today, the most in a month.

BlackBerry’s Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing services will be suspended starting in October in the United Arab Emirates. “Blackberry data is immediately exported off-shore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. Blackberry data services are currently the only data services operating in the UAE where this is the case,” the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said when it announced the ban.

The Indonesian and Saudi Arabian governments have also expressed interest in monitoring BlackBerry data.

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