India extends BlackBerry reprieve

18 Oct 2010

The Indian Authorities have extended a reprieve for Research in Motion (RIM) as the two parties continue to examine potential solutions that would enable security agencies to monitor BlackBerry’s encrypted services.

As reported earlier (click here), the government had previously averted a ban on instant messaging and corporate email services in last minute talks at the end of August, giving the Canadian handset maker 60 days to discuss “certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies”. This two-month reprieve, which was to expire at the end of this month, has been extended by another three months till January 31, 2011.

The discussions focus on encrypted transmissions from BlackBerry handsets via offshore servers that cannot be monitored by a third party. Authorities, who are heightening telecommunications security after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, claim this system poses national security threats. Yet, RIM claims that while it tries to work within the legal frameworks of each country, it will not jeopardise their customers’ privacy or the principles laid out in a public statement issued on August 12.

Last week, the United Arab Emirates also reversed its threats of a ban on key BlackBerry services scheduled to begin on October 11, 2010. The state’s telecommunications regulator announced that “all BlackBerry services…will continue to operate as normal” though it is unsure whether this decision is permanent (view full story here).

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Alisha Haridasani

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