(Repeats to add link to graphic)
By Bappa Majumdar
NEW DELHI Aug 26 The fate of BlackBerry's
encrypted email and messaging services in India will be decided
in last-ditch talks starting on Thursday between the smart
phone's maker and security agencies ahead of an Aug. 31
Time is running out for BlackBerry's maker, Canada's
Research in Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O, to give the Indian
government the means to track and read its secure email and
instant messaging services that officials fear has the
potential to be misused by militants and to create political
BlackBerry's troubles in India, which could cut it out from
one of the world's fastest growing mobile phone markets, are
the latest in the firm's global headaches as governments worry
its encrypted services could be used for activities from
terrorism to peddling pornography.
"Deliberations will go on for the next two days and a final
decision will be taken on Monday," a senior Interior ministry
official told Reuters. A RIM source confirmed the meeting.
"Hopefully they will come up with some solution," the
ministry official added.
Last week, India said it will allow BlackBerry's messenger
service to continue beyond an Aug. 31 deadline after RIM
assured India of manual access to instant messages by Sept. 1,
and automated access by November.
But the interior ministry said it will shut down RIM's
secure email service if access is not given to its encrypted
For a Q+A on BlackBerry's security, click [ID:nN12132220]
For a graphic, click: link.reuters.com/ryr37n
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.
RIM uses powerful codes to scramble, or encrypt, email
messages as they travel between a BlackBerry device and a
computer known as a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) that is
designed to secure those emails.
Indian telecommuncation officials said they had been told
by RIM the only way an email could be intercepted is when it
temporarily stores itself in a server in a decrypted form
before it gets delivered.
"We will discuss all possibilities and see if we can come
up with any solution," another Indian government source said.
India is one of a number of countries putting pressure on
RIM, which has built the reputation of the BlackBerry, popular
with business professionals and politicians, around
Governments such as Saudi Arabia's fear it could become a
tool to plan militant attacks or for those breaking Islamic
(Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Miral Fahmy)