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BlackBerry's encryption deal with India

Authorities want access to users’ messages.

INDIAN AUTHORITIES may have reached a deal with Research in Motion (RIM) over the encryption of BlackBerry messages.

Concerns that the device could be used by terrorists to plan attacks led to India marking a 31 August deadline for the means to read instant messages and emails sent via BlackBerry. Without an agreement in place by then, the government will ban the smartphone.

RIM, which manufactures the device, has indicated that it will provide a technical solution to the government next week, but the government will need time for its analysts to test if the solution works.

A similar deal was reached between RIM and Saudi Arabia recently, with the company agreeing to provide the codes necessary for accessing BlackBerry users’ messages stored in domestic servers in Saudi Arabia.

The main concern in this situation was communication between unrelated men and women in Saudi Arabia, which is legally restricted.

The UAE is planning to impose a ban on the handsets from October over fears they may be used by terrorists or assassins.

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The agreements see a marked change in RIM’s attitude to privacy; the company had built BlackBerry’s reputation on the strength of its data protection.

Indian authorities will also approach Google and Skype with concerns over cyber-spying and planned attacks.

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