* Officials meeting ahead of Aug. 31 deadline for solution
* Could be extended if RIM has plan, needs more
* Any ban on BlackBerry services would be global first
By Bappa Majumdar
NEW DELHI, Aug 30 Indian officials meet on
Monday to decide whether to ban some of Research In Motion's
RIM.TO BlackBerry services, a day before the deadline runs
out for the firm to give security agencies access to its secure
Government sources have said the Aug. 31 deadline could be
extended if Research In Motion RIMM.O says it has a solution
to allowing monitoring of emails and asks for more time to
avoid disruption of its services in the world's fastest-growing
mobile phone market.
Monday's meeting will consider a technical report prepared
after two days of talks last week between RIM officials and
Indian security agencies. The report, sources said, contains
some suggestions on how a secure email on BlackBerry may be
"A final decision will be taken after considering all
aspects and national security interests," a source in the
interior ministry told Reuters. The outcome of the meeting may
not be announced on Monday. The sources asked not to be
identified because they were not authorised to talk to the
The meeting is due to start at 5 p.m. local (1130 GMT).
India says it wants the means to fully track and read
BlackBerry's secure email and instant messaging services that
officials fear could be misused by militants.
India could become the first country to ban the services,
even though several governments have raised concerns about the
popular device over activities from terrorism to peddling
For a Q+A on BlackBerry's security, click [ID:nN12132220]
For a graphic, click: link.reuters.com/ryr37n
For a FACTBOX on BlackBerry's problems in India, click,
For SCENARIOS in case India bans BlackBerry, click
Saudi Arabia, fretful over online services like
pornography, has reached a deal with RIM on the messenger
service, a consumer product outside of the secure corporate
domain. India too has reached a deal till November on Messenger
service, according to government sources.
Such concerns have also been raised by Kuwait and the
United Arab Emirates, with the latter giving RIM an Oct. 11
Analysts see no easy fix to the standoff as RIM says it has
no way of intercepting the data that countries want access to.
RIM has denied media reports that say it provided unique
wireless services or access to any one country. [ID:nWEN8334]
A shutdown would affect about 1 million users in India out
of a total 41 million BlackBerry users worldwide, allowing them
to use the devices only for calls and Internet browsing.
(Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Alistair Scrutton
and Lincoln Feast)