updated 11:00 am EDT, Fri October 29, 2010
India says BlackBerry OK but with terms
India's federal home ministry said on Friday that it would likely avert a BlackBerry service ban after RIM had developed an "interim arrangement" for the country to spy on messages. The lifting of the threat came after RIM promised India could intercept BlackBerry Messenger conversations. A more permanent solution would come by the January 31 deadline, the ministry said.
The statement reflected a promised review of RIM's proposals, but it's not known what exactly would be implemented to let India and the UAE drop their complaints. RIM has repeatedly stressed that BlackBerry e-mail, Messenger and other services have their encryption keys created only by the sender and the recipient, making it difficult or impossible to decrypt messages even for the phone creator.
The phone maker has said it would only ever have a snooping option that would be available to everyone, but it has had a vested interest in averting bans in India and the Middle East. Combined, India and the UAE represent about 1.5 million BlackBerry users. Losing them would hurt RIM's already difficult competitive position against Apple and Nokia, whose data is less secure but also hasn't faced bans.