BlackBerry Maker Gets a Break in India

Research In Motion (RIM)–maker of the popular BlackBerry line of smartphones–has gotten a break from the Indian government. The break comes in the form of a two month extension to a looming BlackBerry ban nationwide in the second most populated country in the world. The reasons for the threatened BlackBerry ban are highly political but boil down to the inability for encrypted BlackBerry communications to be intercepted and monitored by Indian intelligence agencies.

RIM has been working on finding a solution to the problem and avoiding the ban (and has even gotten politicians from Canada and the United States to step in to help with similar bans pending across the Middle East) but walks a fine line. If it gives away too much to India, it risks compromising the trust-based relationship it has built with its corporate clients that rely on its encryption technology.

At the same time, Skype and Google are under intense scrutiny by India and are expected to eventually “hand over the keys” for their networks and technology when used within India’s borders.

While I am certain a solution is being worked out between RIM and India right now (if it has not already), it is good to know that India is not being too stubborn here and pulling the plug on its BlackBerry users quite yet. Since the solution India wants is full, real time monitoring abilities of all BlackBerry communications within the country, RIM has some work cut out for itself right now to comply if it wants to stay in India. Proposed solutions for RIM (Google and Skype too) mostly boil down to India getting its own server system for each of the services within its borders. With full control over the servers used by its citizens, India would be able to do what it wants. We will have to wait and see how much RIM, Skype and Google are ultimately willing to hand over though.

Has India been bluffing the whole time and will not ban BlackBerrys? Or have they come to an agreement and RIM is building a solution right now? Let me know what you think of all this.

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