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Indian Government withdraws threat over BlackBerry services

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The threat hanging over BlackBerry services in India, which could have led to the total suspension of services in the country, appears to have lifted.

The Indian government had threatened a total shutdown of the BlackBerry service unless its manufacturer RIM adhered to its demands. The Government wanted access to users' emails and wanted RIM's servers moved to India to aid its fight against terrorism.

RIM had steadfastly refused to give access to users' data.

But the Indian Government now seems to have backed down on its demands and accepted that BlackBerries are not causing a specific risk.

"There is no threat from BlackBerry services," the Government's telecoms secretary Siddhartha Behura told reporters at an industry summit.

Behura added that operators did not need governmental approval to offer BlackBerry services. Asked if the government had any plan to stop BlackBerry services, Behura replied: "Not to my knowledge."

One operator, Tata Teleservices, claimed in March that its application to run BlackBerry services was rejected by the Government because of security worries.

The Government, RIM and the country's service providers have since been in discussions over the alleged issues.

Media coverage of the subject has dismayed RIM. "We have customers in 135 countries and there are various regulatory concerns. India is no different," RIM's global head of security Scott Totzke told SC Magazine in an interview two weeks ago. "It's just a little unfortunate that we have seen a lot of information in the local press about what goes on."

At the time, Totzke described the talks as "positive and productive" and predicted that there would be no interruption to services.

Four service providers currently offer services in India. Tata Teleservices and one other operator have expressed an interest in joining them.

Though RIM does not release country-specific figures, subscriber numbers in India are known to top 100,000.
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