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    Update on RIM BlackBerry Security Questions

    Research in Motion (RIM) has been dealing with the threat that its BlackBerry smartphones would be banned in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India and other countries because of security concerns. There were reports that Saudi Arabia and RIM had reached a preliminary deal, which raised security and privacy questions about the BlackBerry messaging service, which promises a “secure” e-mail system. However, RIM has faced problems in negotiations with India, with the possibility of a ban for its BlackBerry cellphones in the country. Now, the Associated Press reports that RIM has received a 60-day reprieve from India for its mobile phones.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement it would review the situation in 60 days after the Department of Telecommunications studies the feasibility of routing BlackBerry services through a server in India.

    India wants greater access to encrypted corporate e-mails and instant messaging, though it remains unclear precisely what concessions Research In Motion agreed to in order to avert the ban. […]

    Research In Motion, a Canadian company, has been reluctant to agree to New Delhi’s demands for real-time access to encrypted corporate e-mail, saying previously it is technically impossible to provide.

    The decision by Nokia Corp. — Research In Motion’s major competitor in India — to install a server in the country to facilitate government monitoring may have weakened RIM’s bargaining position. Nokia India Managing Director D. Shivakumar told reporters Monday the company will install a server in India in November to ensure government access to data.

    RIM is facing widespread concern over its strong data encryption, which is beloved by corporate customers eager to guard secrets, but troublesome for some governments in the Middle East and Asia that worry it could be used by militants to avoid detection. […]

    Striking the right balance between national security and corporate privacy is especially important to Indian outsourcing companies eager to protect client data.

    “India is termed an outsourcing hub for the U.S. and Europe so data security is a primary issue. If there is any data leakage, we lose business,” said Chetan Samant, a manager at a software association.

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