BlackBerry: India may bar RIM if it fails to act

The Union government seems to have made up its mind to bar the Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM), which makes BlackBerry smartphones, from offering data services unless it addresses the security concerns raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and intelligence agencies.

The government hopes that RIM will come out with some kind of solution at the earliest, even as more nations joined India in raising similar concerns and threatened to suspend the BlackBerry services.“RIM officials have told us that its [the company's] experts are working with some agencies to address the security concerns raised by the Home Ministry and security agencies. Our officials are also in touch with them, and I hope some solution will be found soon. We have no issue with the voice service; our reservation is about some of their data services, which they will have to address,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot told TheHindu on Thursday.

Pointing out that the government would have to take some steps, as the country's security concerns were supreme, Mr. Pilot said: “When RIM was willing to address the security concerns of other countries, they will have to listen to us too. Our security and intelligence agencies need access to their data services, and it is a very reasonable demand given the global situation. We do not want to eavesdrop on private and business conversations of our citizens or corporates, but we cannot compromise on our security.”

Security agencies want access to RIM's unique BlackBerry data services such as messenger and e-mail. But the firm says it is not possible because it does not have any key to the encrypted data stored in its servers in Canada. Furthermore, RIM is not willing to set up its servers in the country.

India now has more than 10 lakh BlackBerry customers, mainly of RIM's data solutions that allow seamless, mobile access to time-sensitive information through email, phone, text messages and Internet. Any action against RIM will not only hurt the company but also Indian operators.

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