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BlackBerry access threatened in India

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed March 12, 2008

No BlackBerry in India?

Use of Research in Motion's popular BlackBerry phones could effectively be barred in India by the end of the month, warns a local publication. The Business Standard cites anonymous sources, who say that government security agencies want RIM to share algorithms used to decrypt messages, under threat of the termination of BlackBerry services for non-compliance. Unlike most cellphones, BlackBerries operate on a proprietary e-mail network.

Members of the Indian cellular industry will only confirm that there is a legal dispute with the government, and that efforts at persuasion are ongoing, according to Reuters. "We have met them [the government] more than once and we are trying to meet them again," says the director general of the Cellular Operators' Association of India, T.V. Ramachandran. "Government wants some security concerns to be addressed and we are trying for an effective dialogue with the security agencies and the department of telecommunications."

The Standard writes that a new meeting may be scheduled for March 14th, involving the government, executives from RIM and representatives of Indian wireless carriers.

While much of India is too poor to afford a cellphone, the country's burgeoning middle and upper classes have enabled RIM to gain at least 400,000 subscribers, possibly as many as 500,000.

Written by Monish K Bhatia

by MacNN Staff



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