India calls off BlackBerry ban

Following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, the Indian government cancels the BlackBerry ban based on an interim solution from RIM.

India has canceled a ban of BlackBerry services that was scheduled to occur at the end of October.

A press release from India's Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday confirmed the news, saying that discussions with RIM had led to an interim agreement under which BlackBerry Messenger services could continue. This agreement provides the Indian government with access to the lawful interception of data over the BlackBerry network, according to the ministry. Further, RIM has promised India that it would offer a final solution by January 31, to give the government continued access.

Details of the agreement were not revealed. But India has been after RIM as well as Google and Skype to set up local servers in the country where the government and law enforcement agencies could more easily monitor network data in the name of national security.

As one of several countries upset with RIM over the company's refusal to allow access to encrypted communications, India originally threatened to turn off BlackBerry services at the end of August. But on August 30, the Indian government decided to give RIM a reprieve of another 60 days as it evaluated proposals from the company that would let the country tap into the wireless networks.

India's cancellation of the ban follows a similar move by the United Arab Emirates in early October to allow BlackBerry services to continue. In that instance, the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which regulates telecommunications for the UAE, said that BlackBerry services were now compatible with the UAE's regulatory framework and added that RIM had cooperated in offering a compatible solution.

In response to the UAE's cancellation of the ban, RIM said that it "cannot discuss the details of confidential regulatory matters that occur in specific countries, but RIM confirms that it continues to approach lawful access matters internationally within the framework of core principles that were publicly communicated by RIM on August 12."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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