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RIM awaits privacy ruling in India

The three-year struggle between BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) and India over what can remain private continues to be played out in public.

After months of debate over India's demands for RIM to provide access to its proprietary enterprise services and encrypted emails, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company linked the dispute to India's economic outlook. In a note to its enterprise customers in late February, RIM stated that any ban on the company's operations would affect India's financial development and its outsourcing opportunities. Noting that other companies – including Nokia, Motorola, Apple, Sony Ericsson and HTC – offer wireless services with similar types of encryption technologies, RIM contended that every supplier should abide by the same rules.

India responded a week later by sharing an internal telecommunications department document with The Economic Times. The memorandum stated that, although RIM had recently provided encryption keys for its messaging and internet services to Indian security officials, the company had not provided enough technical detail to allow sufficient use of the access.

The government repeated its position that RIM set up an enterprise server in India, something it said the company was considering. The internal document said that a technical committee had been established to study the architecture of other service providers' networks, but did not commit to applying the same scrutiny to all mobile carriers.

In January, RIM temporarily suspended its discussions with the Indian government, contending that officials in the country were leaking sensitive information to the media to undermine the Canadian company's position. The Department of Telecommunications dismissed that charge as a delaying tactic on RIM's part.

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