India BlackBerry users relieved as shutdown averted

India's BlackBerry users heaved a sigh of relief Tuesday after the government gave the company a two-month reprieve on a threat to ban its messaging services, averting a showdown over security access.

Research in Motion (RIM), the smartphone's maker, has made "certain proposals for lawful access" to heavily encrypted BlackBerry messages and the situation "will be reviewed in 60 days", the government announced Monday.

The breakthrough came on the eve of a deadline for cellular providers in India to close down the Canadian firm's corporate email and messenger chatting services unless intelligence services could monitor them.

Now, after getting RIM to offer access to BlackBerry data, India aims to go ahead with plans to pursue Google and call provider Skype as it steps up scrutiny of encrypted communications, media reports said.

India, battling insurgencies ranging from Kashmir in the northwest to the far-flung northeast, fears encrypted data could be used by militants to plan attacks.

The proposals for meeting India's security concerns include setting up a server in India through which BlackBerry messages could be routed, the home ministry said in a statement.

Finland's Nokia, one of RIM's biggest rivals in India, said Monday it had already satisfied the government's security concerns by agreeing to install a server in India "for hosting mail and ensuring the government has access".

Analysts have said it would be a major blow for RIM, whose shares have lost more than 30 percent of their value in trading since the start of the year on the New York Exchange, to lose access to the world's fastest-growing cellular market.

For the government, a ban on BlackBerry services, used widely by India's elite, could have caused serious communication problems with the Commonwealth Games due to take place in New Delhi in just over a month.

Banning the service would have also created disruption for India's corporations, which widely use the Blackberry. BlackBerry has 1.1 million users in India, although not all of them are corporate clients.

"It would have been a real inconvenience, I don't know what I would have done. I use the BlackBerry all the time," said an Indian oil company executive.

Indian authorities plan to issue notices to US search engine Google, Luxembourg-based Skype and public telecom infrastructure provider Virtual Private Network (VPN) to make their services accessible to security agencies, the Press Trust of India reported.

VPN is a network that uses the Internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organisation's network.

If they do not satisfy the government's demands, they will be asked to close down their Indian operations, a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said, according to PTI.

"There will be no discrimination. All networks operating in India will have to give access to their services to law enforcement agencies," the official said.

RIM's proposals for "lawful access" to its messages would be "operationalised immediately" and their feasibility assessed, the home ministry said.

A RIM official told AFP the company had not compromised its public commitment to make no special deals with governments.

Analysts note other security-conscious nations such as China and Russia appear to be satisfied that their intelligence agencies have sufficient access to BlackBerry communications although the arrangements between RIM and these countries are not known.

BlackBerry has also been facing a threatened October 11 ban by the United Arab Emirates and has been negotiating with Saudi Arabia on security issues.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A PHP Developer with knowledge ...

    SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - PHP

    £33000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas