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India gives BlackBerry another reprieve

The Indian government has once again extended the deadline by which BlackBerry services must be accessible to the country’s security agencies—although reports differ regarding how much extra time has been given to Research in Motion. According to Bloomberg, an Indian government official says RIM has been given until the end of the year to come up with a way for Indian authorities to monitor secured BlackBerry communications, while India’s The Economic Times, according to the AFP, has reported RIM has until January 31, 2011.

India initially set a deadline of August 31, 2010 for access to secured BlackBerry services and communications, fearing the encrypted messaging traffic could be used by militants and terrorists to stage attacks. India then gave RIM 60 extra days, and since then reports have surfaces that India has “manual” access to secured messages sent via BlackBerry Messenger, with automated solutions coming soon. Another reprieve would presumably give RIM and the Indian government more time to reach a solution. The Indian government wants access to both encrypted Messenger traffic and encrypted email.

Research in Motion has steadfastly refused to comment on the specifics of its work with the Indian government, but has consistently claimed it doesn’t give preferential treatment to any governments, nor does it have a back door to access encrypted communications secured by owner-created encryption keys.

RIM recently avoided a ban of its services in the United Arab Emirates, and talked Saudi Arabia out of a similar ban, apparently by locating BlackBerry servers in the country rather than in overseas data centers.

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