RIM gets 60 days reprieve as India evaluates proposals

Proposals from Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. for lawful access of its networks by law enforcement agencies in India are being put into operation immediately, the government said Monday.

The government did not disclose specifics of the proposals from RIM. A Home Ministry spokesman said he could not comment further on a statement issued by the government about the proposals. RIM’s spokesman in India did not return calls.

India said earlier this month that it will ask service providers in the country to ensure that some BlackBerry services be made accessible to its law enforcement agencies by Aug. 31 or face a block of these services.

The Indian government asked for access to BlackBerry’s enterprise server and its instant messaging application. The government is worried that online and mobile communications are increasingly being used by terrorists to plan their attacks.

The feasibility of the solutions offered by RIM will be assessed after they are put into operation, the government said in its statement.

The government has also decided that the Department of Telecommunications will study the feasibility of all such services “being provided through a server located only in India,” indicating the country has not softened on an earlier demand that RIM should locate its communications servers in India.

The country’s Ministry of Home Affairs will review the situation within 60 days by which time the Department of Telecommunications is also expected to submit its report, the statement said.

The government’s decision came after a meeting late Monday of the country’s home secretary, G.K. Pillai, and representatives of security agencies and the Department of Telecommunications.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also said that any communication through the telecom networks should be accessible to the law enforcement agencies and all telecom service providers including third parties have to comply.

RIM avoided a ban in Saudi Arabia earlier this month after reportedly agreeing to provide access to some of its services to the local authorities. The local regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission, dropped the threat to ban some BlackBerry services after RIM agreed to provide it access to servers located in the country, according to an official of the country’s regulator, who declined to be named. RIM did not issue a statement or comment on the developments in Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia and Lebanon have also indicated that they would like access to data transmitted on RIM’s networks in their country, while the United Arab Emirates has threatened to suspend some BlackBerry services if they do not fall in line with the country’s regulations.

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