* RIM has offered a forum to look at India's needs
* Any solution offered must address India's concerns-source
By Bappa Majumdar and Devidutta Tripathy
NEW DELHI, Aug 27 India may extend an Aug. 31
deadline in its standoff with Research In Motion RIM.TO over
access to Blackberry data, if the Canadian firm says it has a
solution and asks for time, a government source said on Friday.
India says it wants the means to track and read
Blackberry's secure email and instant messaging services that
officials fear could be misused by militants and anyone trying
to create political instability.
RIM says it was willing to lead an industry forum to look
at India's security concerns as well as uphold the need of
corporates for a secure system.
"If they say we have a solution and ask for time, then
we'll see," the Indian government source, who declined to be
named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said.
"Everything is possible."
Executives of the Canadian firm met government officials
for last-ditch negotiations aimed at finding a solution. The
government has said it will take a final decision on Monday.
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.
Governments such as Saudi Arabia's fear it could become a
tool to plan militant attacks or for those breaking Islamic
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.
RIM has said BlackBerry security is based on a system where
the customers create their own key and the company neither has
a master key nor any "back door" to allow RIM or any third
party to gain access to crucial corporate data.
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
"We will only accept a solution which will enable us lawful
interception of BlackBerry services in the interest of national
security," an Indian government official close to the
negotiations with RIM told Reuters.
"The solution, if they come up with it, will have to go
through field trials and satisfy our technical experts," he
said. "The government's position does not change ... We are
hopeful they will come up with some solution."
RIM said singling out BlackBerry for blocking would be
counter-productive for India, as it would limit the efficiency
and productivity of local firms.
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.
"I think these concerns have been addressed in other parts
of the world. I see no reason why the Indian government and its
agencies should take any risk at all as far as technology is
concerned," junior telecoms minister Sachin Pilot said on
(Editing by Surojit Gupta and Sanjeev Miglani)