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RIM gives Messenger access to Indian authorities

Indian authorities get manual access to BlackBerry Messenger service, automated access could follow

RIM gives Messenger access to Indian authorities
Indian authorities now have manual access to BlackBerry Messenger communications, through requesting transcripts from RIM.

Research in Motion (RIM) has given Indian authorities access to its BlackBerry Messenger service, in the hope of avoiding a ban in the country.

The Indian Home Secretary said yesterday that RIM has provided security agencies with manual access to Messenger communications.

“We have manual access to the Messenger service. We want automated access and we are hopeful of getting it from January 1st,” GK Pillai, India's Home Secretary, told Reuters.

At present RIM is able to provide manual print outs of Messenger within four to five hours of a request from agencies. With automated access, the authorities would be able to track Messenger in real time.

Indian authorities proposed a ban on BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry email services due to security concerns, particularly around claims that BlackBerry smartphones were used to co-ordinate terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008. RIM won a sixty day reprieve from a ban in August, when it agreed to give authorities access to the various services, although these solutions are still being tested.

The breakthrough does not include access to corporate BlackBerry emails however, which RIM says only the sponsoring business or organization has the technical capability to grant access.

The BlackBerry Messenger and email services are set to be banned in the UAE next Monday, 11th October, unless agreement can be reached between RIM and regulators.

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