India Continues Security Talks with BlackBerry Manufacturer Research in Motion: Report

By Erin Harrison September 21, 2010

As the old adage goes, “it's like pulling teeth.”

According to an anonymous government source in India, in an effort to get a handle on security concerns, the country continues its negotiations with BlackBerry owner Research in Motion to access BlackBerry information, including corporate e-mails. The source also told Reuters that its current access is only for messenger services.

“They have started giving us access to messenger service from September 1,” the source said. “Discussions are under way so that we get access to the other service which is corporate e-mail so that we can read it in readable format.”

Security concerns with Blackberries are also prompting government officials in India to ask Skype and Google for better access to encrypted information.

A spokesman for RIM was not immediately available for comment.

Officials have said the immediate concern is with the BlackBerry – the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai were coordinated with satellite and cell phones. In fact, officials will have an overhaul and security review of telecommunications ahead of the Commonwealth Games, to be held in New Delhi in October, the AP said.

A source had earlier told Reuters the Indian government had been granted access to data effective Sept. 1, but the nature of the access was unclear until now, according to the news source.

According to several reports, India threatened to ban BlackBerry services unless the device’s manufacturer – Research in Motion – made them accessible to its security agencies. Research In Motion Vice President Robert E. Crowe has met with Home Ministry officials in New Delhi to try to avoid the ban. However, no details of the outcome of those meetings have yet been released.

In July, Vodafone Essar, one of India’s leading cellular services providers, along with Research In Motion launched of BlackBerry service plans for its prepaid customers in India.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company´┐Żs strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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