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RIM, India Standoff Continues

Indian telecom minister hopes resolution of security dispute will come "soon."
RIM and telecommunications authorities in India on Thursday continued discussions aimed at ending a standoff over the BlackBerry maker's security policies, but no resolution was achieved.

"We have not reached an agreement so far. Hopefully some solution will come out soon," said Andimithu Raja, India's telecommunications minister, according to the Reuters news agency.

Indian officials say they need to be able to intercept BlackBerry messages in cases where they suspect the devices are being used to plot terror attacks or other crimes. RIM, for its part, insists that encryption is in its users' hands and that it does not have technology that would allow third-parties to monitor BlackBerry traffic.

The dispute echoes a similar set-to that's transpiring between RIM and Saudi Arabia. Officials in Riyadh are threatening to cut off BlackBerry service in the kingdom unless RIM makes decryption technology available.

RIM has offered to give Indian officials the IP addresses of its BlackBerry Enterprise Servers and PIN and IMEI numbers of BlackBerry handsets, Reuters reported. But the offer failed to satisfy security officials in India, which has been subject to a number of high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years—including strikes on the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels.

RIM and Indian authorities plan to continue their talks throughout the week.

RIM, which manages its own messaging traffic, faces a dilemma when it comes to meeting national governments' security demands. The BlackBerry's vaunted security and encryption tools have made it the device of choice for high-end business users. But, with mounting competition from Apple, Google, and others, RIM can ill afford to alienate authorities that represent some of the world's hottest growth markets. RIM this week introduced the BlackBerry Torch, a touch-centric mobile device that's designed to challenge the iPhone 4, but the company's stock has fallen sharply in the past two days over the international disputes.

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