RIM extends olive branch to Indian government

RIM offers to create industry forum to discuss ways in which India can access BlackBerry information while still preserving corporate security.

Research In Motion is hoping to find a solution to its drawn-out security battle with India by creating an industry forum to address the government's concerns.

RIM says it wants to create a forum where the company and other mobile firms could work with the Indian government to support "the lawful access needs of law enforcement agencies, while preserving the legitimate information security needs of corporations and other organizations in India."

RIM hopes to find a middle ground with India, which has said that if the company doesn't loosen security on its e-mail and instant-messaging services by the end of the month, RIM's messaging tools will be blocked by the country's wireless service providers. The Indian government, like those of United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, contends that RIM's security encryption is too strict and limits the government's ability to monitor potentially dangerous communication.

In a statement, RIM said it believes the Indian government should value "the integrity and security of sensitive corporate information." If the government banned the encrypted communication, RIM said, it "would severely limit the effectiveness and productivity of India's corporations."

RIM is staying strong in the face of the Indian government's demands and indicated that it's not planning on giving in.

"Singling out and banning one solution, such as the BlackBerry solution, would be ineffective and counterproductive," the company said.

In an attempt to dispel what it called misconceptions related to its disagreement with India, RIM said that it doesn't have a "master key" that would allow it to gain access to encrypted corporate information, and the service was built to "exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information."

The company was also quick to point out that it has not inked special deals with countries around the world that have also requested access to its messaging platform, indicating that the chances of India getting RIM to bow to its pressure are slim, if not nil.

"RIM assures both its customers in India and the government of India that RIM maintains a consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries," RIM said in a statement.

Going forward, RIM believes that it needs the help of other companies in its industry--through its proposed industry forum--to defend against complaints like those coming from India.

"This challenge can only be truly overcome if the information and communications technology industry comes together as a whole to work with the government of India," RIM said in a statement. "The use of strong encryption in wireless technology is not unique to the BlackBerry platform. It is unquestionably an industrywide matter."

RIM has until the end of August to furnish the Indian government access to e-mail, instant messages, and Web browsing. If RIM declines, the country has said it will force wireless providers to shut off those services on September 1.

 

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