India gives BlackBerry 60-day reprieve

India on Monday gave the makers of the BlackBerry smartphone a 60-day reprieve on a threat to ban its messaging services, saying it would test proposals by the firm to give law enforcers access to data.

The announcement came after government and security officials met to review proposals by Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) to allow security forces to decode the heavily encrypted email and other messages carried on the handsets.

"The Home Ministry will review the security issue relating to Blackberry services within 60 days, by which time the Department of Telecommunications will submit its report," a government statement said.

New Delhi threatened earlier this month it would ban corporate emails and BlackBerry messenger chatting services on the smartphone unless the company came up with a way for security agencies to monitor them by August 31.

India, which struggles with a host of home-grown insurgencies and threats from terror groups based in neighbouring Pakistan, is worried the encrypted messages could be used by militants to coordinate attacks.

RIM made "certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies and these would be operationalised immediately", the home ministry statement said.

"The feasibility of the solutions offered would be accessed thereafter".

For RIM, whose shares have been trading at 52-week lows, striking a deal with India has been crucial to ensure the company is not shut out of the world's fastest-growing cellular market.

The statement capped weeks of talks between RIM and the government on ways monitoring could work without the firm abandoning its public commitment not to directly aid governments in decoding its messages.

There was no immediate comment from RIM on exactly how it planned to satisfy the Indian government's demands.

It has continually insisted it makes no "special deals" with any government involving access to communications carried on its handsets and analysts say its commercial success has been due to its gold-plated data protection reputation.

At the same time, 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 specifics of the arrangements between RIM and these countries are not known.

India's Ministry of Home Affairs has "made it clear any communication through the telecom networks should be accessible to the law enforcement agencies", the statement said.

BlackBerry has also been facing a threatened ban by the United Arab Emirates and is negotiating with Saudi Arabia on security issues. Other countries have also been making noises of concern about security access.

Eyeing BlackBerry's market share, Finland's Nokia, one of RIM's biggest rivals in India, said Monday it had already satisfied the government's security concerns and faced no problems.

Nokia was installing a server in India "for hosting mail and ensuring the government has (security) access," said Nokia India managing director D. Shivakumar.

The government - keen to project India as an investor-friendly economy - had said earlier it would prefer not to shut down the operations of BlackBerry, widely used by the country's elites, saying it was "not in the business of shutting down services."

At the same time it stressed New Delhi was not ready to sacrifice its security interests.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer / Web Designer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory