RIM Looks To Escape BlackBerry Ban

The Canadian smartphone maker is continuing talks with Indian authorities in effort to resolve impasse over security issues.
RIM is holding last minute discussions with Indian authorities in an effort to avoid a ban on BlackBerry messaging services in the country that's scheduled to take effect Aug. 31.

Among other things, RIM has offered to create a mobile industry forum that could provide a framework for mobile security issues in the country.

"The industry forum would work closely with the Indian government and focus on developing recommendations for policies and processes aimed at preventing the misuse of strong encryption technologies while preserving its many societal benefits in India," Rim officials said in a statement Thursday, according to Dow Jones.

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 occurred between RIM and Saudi Arabia. Officials in Riyadh previously threatened 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. But the offer failed to satisfy security officials in India, which has seen a number of high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years.

RIM, which manages its own messaging traffic, is between a rock and a hard place 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.

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