India BlackBerry users relieved as shutdown averted

NEW DELHI, August 31, 2010 (AFP) – 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.

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