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RIM gives Indian security services access to Blackberry messages

Enterprise users are left alone for now
Thu Jan 13 2011, 15:19

MOBILE MESSAGING GIANT Research In Motion (RIM) has bowed to intense pressure and allowed India's spooks access to its messaging services.

The maker of the popular Blackberry messaging smartphones announced that it has provided a tool to allow India's security agencies access to its public Messenger and email services. However, messages sent through its corporate email service are still hidden from view, at least for now.

RIM revealed the policy change in a customer update, saying, "The lawful access capability now available to RIM's carrier partners meets the standard required by the government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace."

To mollify its core business customers, RIM said that the access granted to India's security agencies does not include messages sent through the Blackberry Enterprise Server, which it claims "is essentially an enterprise VPN solution".

The Indian Government had threatened to ban Blackberry messaging services if RIM did not comply with its request to provide access. It claimed that the encryption deployed by RIM would make Blackberrys the communication devices of choice for terrorists.

RIM hopes that its concession will be enough to appease the Indian government and not alienate its customers. It is likely that if the Indian government accepts RIM's partial solution, it will be the template used by other governments that have made similar demands on RIM for access to its customers' data. µ



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