Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

India postpones BlackBerry ban

The Indian government has postponed a ban on BlackBerry mobile phone services

India has postponed a ban on BlackBerry mobiles after threatening to shut the service down in a dispute over access to the encoded emails of users.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said it would "review the situation in 60 days," after telecom authorities examined Research In Motion's proposals to give security agencies greater access to corporate email and instant messaging.

RIM is facing widespread concern over its strong data encryption, which is popular with corporate customers eager to guard secrets but a problem for some governments in the Middle East and Asia, which worry it could be used by militants to avoid detection.

The controversy, which reaches across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Lebanon and India, sent RIM's stock price to a 16-month low on Friday.

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 US and Europe so data security is a primary issue. If there is any data leakage, we lose business," said Chetan Samant, 35, a manager at a software association.

He believes BlackBerry usage is so widespread in India now that it would be politically difficult for the government to enact a ban.

He, for one, would be sad to part with his BlackBerry. "Once you get used to it, it's an addiction," he said.

Indian officials say that while they are not eager to ban the BlackBerry, they will not compromise on national security.

Security concerns flared after the terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008, which was coordinated using mobile phones, satellite phones and voice over internet phone calls.

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