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Last call for BlackBerry?

delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2010 01:55 IST
Aloke Tikku

India would spell out a firm deadline to mobile phone operators this Thursday to ensure access of security agencies to encrypted BlackBerry messages or disconnect the two BlackBerry services that violate their licence conditions.

The government has been negotiating with the Canadian firm that operates BlackBerry services, Research in Motion, for nearly two years. Officials believe that a clear deadline — to be delivered at its meeting on Thursday — would persuade RIM to take India's security concerns more seriously.

A similar decision to pull the plug had convinced the company to consider setting up a server to address similar concerns. The decision — unless RIM acts on the government's security concerns — could result in deactivation of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Messenger.

Thursday's meeting, convened by the home ministry, would be attended by representatives of the Department of Telecom and phone companies such as Airtel, Vodafone, RCom, Tata Teleservices and the government-run BSNL and MTNL.

"We will tell the mobile service providers in categorical terms that the government will allow them to offer only those services which could be intercepted by the security agencies. If any service cannot be intercepted, we will not allow them to run such services in,” a government source said.

As per to Indian law, it is phone companies' responsibility to put monitoring services in place for lawful interception of voice and data handled by them.