In­dia holds crunch Black­Berry meet­ing

The Pak Banker - - International -

NEW DELHI: In­dia was set for last-ditch talks with the Cana­dian mak­ers of Black­Berry on Mon­day in a bid to set­tle a se­cu­rity stand­off that could see key fea­tures of the pop­u­lar smart­phone shut down this week.

G.K. Pil­lai, the top home min­istry bu­reau­crat, was slated to meet with the key fig­ures amid sug­ges­tions the govern­ment might give Black­Berry man­u­fac­turer Re­search in Mo­tion (RIM) more time to sat­isfy its de­mands.

"They will all be at the meet­ing-peo­ple from the home min­istry, RIM peo­ple, tele­com min­istry and the se­cu­rity agen­cies," a home min­istry of­fi­cial told AFP.

In­dia threat­ened ear­lier this month it would ban mes­sages sent on smart­phones un­less the com­pany came up with a way for se­cu­rity agen­cies to de­code the heav­ily en­crypted traf­fic by Au­gust 31.

In­dia, which strug­gles with a host of home-grown in­sur­gen­cies and threats from ter­ror groups based in neigh­bour­ing Pak­istan, is wor­ried that Black­Berry phones could be used by mil­i­tants.

The planned meet­ing late Mon­day fol­lows weeks of talks be­tween RIM and the govern­ment on ways mon­i­tor­ing could work with­out the firm aban­don­ing its pub­lic com­mit­ment not to di­rectly aid gov­ern­ments in de­cod­ing its mes­sages. An­a­lysts say RIM's com­mer­cial suc­cess has been partly due to its gold-plated data pro­tec­tion rep­u­ta­tion.

At the same time, an­a­lysts have noted other se­cu­rity-con­scious na­tions such as China and Rus­sia ap­pear to be sat­is­fied that their in­tel­li­gence agen­cies' have suf­fi­cient ac­cess to Black­Berry com­mu­ni­ca­tions. There have been in­di­ca­tions the dead­line might be pushed back be­yond Tues­day's cut-off date as RIM scram­bles to sat­isfy In­dian au­thor­i­ties. "Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble. If they say we have a so­lu­tion and ask for time, then we will see," one un­named govern­ment of­fi­cial said late last week. -Reuters

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