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BlackBerry balks on handing over encryption key

india Updated: Feb 23, 2011 13:10 IST
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BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), which has faced many deadlines from India for providing access to its enterprise service or encrypted emails in view of threats to the country's national security, on Tuesday said that any tough measures by New Delhi won't help in attracting businesses or its huge outsourcing industry.

RIM, which has already given the Indian authorities access to its consumer services since January, is unwilling to bend on its enterprise emails in the world's fastest growing mobile market.

In a note to its enterprise customers, the BlackBerry maker said it "fully appreciates and supports the priority India rightly places on national security." But the Waterloo-based Canadian wireless giant added that encryption is the key to wooing and retaining business in today's world and Indian authorities have understood its importance in their various meetings with its representatives.

Any ban on it will impact the country's economic development and its outsourcing industry, RIM said

Expressing its willingness to discuss any policy changes, RIM said since its competitors also use encryption in India, they too should be the subject of the Indian scrutiny.

RIM said its encryption-using competitors have tried to take advantage of the situation Indian authorities fixed the spotlight on its enterprise service.

Among the companies which use encryption in India are Nokia, Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Cisco, according to RIM. In its note, RIM mentioned the January 31 as the deadline for giving access to its consumer services in India. But it made no mention of any deadline given by India for access to its enterprise service.

India was among many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Indonesia, which last year threatened to shut BlackBerry services for security or related reasons.

Just last month, BlackBerry blocked porn sites in Indonesia after the government of the biggest Muslim in the world threatened to shut its services.

Indonesia has three million BlackBerry subscribers and generates about $250 million for RIM.

Unlike emails on the Internet, RIM's encrypted emails pass through its own servers. The Canadian company has maintained that its has no master key to get access its enterprise emails.