BlackBerry caves in to demands

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

RIM faces an 31 August deadline to
give Indian authorities the means to read e-mail and instant messages sent over
the BlackBerry.

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

“We hope they will address our
security concerns,” an interior ministry official said.

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 nor 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.

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