RIM bows down a bit to Indian authorities

RIM has decided to bend over to some demands by the Indian authorities.

According to reports, it will give access to its BlackBerry Messenger and public email services by January 31, something the authorities have been pushing for. However, secure corporate and encrypted emails will remain private.

It said in an email to customers in India: “The lawful access capability now available to RIM’s carrier partners meets the standard required by the government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace.

“No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry BES customers since, contrary to any rumours, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys,” it added when explaining why it could not give access to private mails.

The RIM vs India war has been raging for a while now. It all kicked off last year when the government decided that terrorists were using Blackberry encryption tools to co-ordinate attacks. It threatened to ban Blackberry services in the country unless RIM bent over to reach demands.

Since then reports have been flying backwards and forwards with the “will they, won’t they,” question.

Only last week it was reported that RIM had told the authorities that it wanted an additional 18-24 months to address the security concerns.

At the time government heads were said not to be pleased about the situation with Ram Narain and Gautam Kumar from the telecom ministry’s security division and RK Suman, a director in the home ministry, saying more needed to be done. They said they were still unable to open files in the ‘jpeg format’, which a RIM representative said would be done by the end of this month.

However, this news now means the India government may just have got what it wanted.