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Government gives BlackBerry Aug 31 deadline

ibnlive.com
Aug 12, 2010 at 05:58pm IST

New Delhi: The government has given Research in Motion and mobile service providers an August 31 deadline to come up with technical solutions to assuage India's security concerns over BlackBerry services.

Earlier, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion skipped a crucial meeting with the government. Vodafone and Airtel were also absent at the meeting.

The mobile service providers say that they were not invited to the meeting.

The govt has given BlackBerry an Aug 31 deadline to come up with solutions to assuage India's security concerns.

The meeting, called to discuss India's security concerns over BlackBerry's encrypted messaging service, was supposed to last for 45 minutes, but ended in only 15 minutes.

Officials from the Intelligence Bureau, National Technical Research Organisation, BSNL and Department of Telecommunications and the Home Ministry attended the meeting. Home Ministry officials said the meeting remained inconclusive.

While RIM was not present at the meeting, RIM Vice President Robert E Crow met the Home Minister P Chidambaram to discuss the BlackBerry deadlock.

The government will review the situation after August 31 and decide on restricting BlackBerry's messenger and enterprise email services.

If a shutdown takes effect, BlackBerry users in India would only be able to use the devices for phone calls and Internet browsing.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are the largest providers of BlackBerry services in India.

India, recently a growing market for RIM, fears the BlackBerry could provide cover for subversive activities. In 2008, a Pakistani-based terrorist group used mobile and satellite phones to coordinate attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

While national security is India's main concern, Middle Eastern countries are concerned that BlackBerry users may spread pornography or violate restrictions on contact between unrelated men and women.

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