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Blackberry allows partial access

business Updated: Jan 14, 2011 02:05 IST
HT Correspondent

From now on, your use of BlackBerry messenger service as well as your Internet browsing history through your BlackBerry will be open to government scrutiny.

Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of Blackberry, on Thursday finally fulfilled their commitment to Indian security agencies of allowing access to BlackBerry's messenger service. But it stuck to the position — reiterated frequently since its stand-off with the Indian government began last August — that it could not provide access to its enterprise (or corporate email) server, since it did not have the encryption key.

Blackberry has over 1 million subscribers in India.

There were a series of meetings in the later part of last year between home ministry officials and BlackBerry service providers in India — including one that RIM officials flew down from Canada to attend — at which India demanded access to both services as a security precaution to track terrorists using the BlackBerry network.

The government set RIM a series of deadlines — the first for August 31 last year — by which to provide access or face suspension of services in India.

A reluctant BlackBerry ultimately agreed to provide the keys to its messenger service, but not to its enterprise server. That promise has now been kept. The last such deadline set had been January 31.

"We are pleased to have delivered a solution well before a mutually agreed milestone date of January 31, 2011," said a company statement. "We also wish to underscore that this enablement of lawful access does not extend to BlackBerry Enterprise Server," the statement added. "No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumours, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys."