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13Aug/100

India Sets Deadline For Potential BlackBerry Stoppage | Threatens To Suspend BlackBerry

India has given BlackBerry phone maker RIM a deadline of 31 August to give the government access to all of its services or face being shut down..

In what appears to be tough stance being taken by the world’s largest democracy, India has set an end-of-the month deadline for BlackBerry to let security agencies access its email and instant messaging or face a ban on the two widely used smartphone services.

Data from the BlackBerry is sent to servers in Canada where high-grade encryption technology makes the content of messages inaccessible to outsiders.

'If a technical solution is not provided by August 31, 2010, the government will review the position and take steps to block' the emails and messenger services from the network, a home ministry statement said on Thursday.

India's Ministry of Home Affairs told the country's mobile operators they would have to close down the two encrypted services if Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian makers of BlackBerry, did not comply with its demands.

RIM takes pride in the level of privacy it offers to BlackBerry users, but a growing number of nations are worried terrorists will exploit this privacy to plot attacks.

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 were planned and executed using electronic devices, including cell phones and GPSs. Six Americans were among the 166 people killed in Mumbai.

"What you're seeing is a trend towards countries, not just India, asserting more sovereign control over communications," said Scott Cleland, president of Precursor LLC.

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