India rules out ban on BlackBerry services

March 14th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) India will not ban the use of BlackBerry technology, top communications ministry officials assured Friday, even as Bharti group chairman Sunil B. Mittal hoped its security concerns will be addressed soon. “There is no question of banning BlackBerry,” said Siddhartha Behura, secretary in the Department of Telecommunications. “We are keen to resolve the issue at the earliest,” he told reporters on the margins of a conference here.

Communications Minister A. Raja, who was also a key speaker at the conference, said that the matter would be deliberated at length since security was a matter of paramount concern for the country.

“We will discuss this at the Telecom Commission,” Raja added, in a reference to concerns expressed by the home ministry that e-mails received by the BlackBerry services cannot be intercepted, making it susceptible to misuse by terrorists.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications and BPL Mobile are the four companies offering BlackBerry services and they have all been directed to allow the government to intercept e-mails by March 31, or face cancellation of licences.

The government has also called the licensor of BlackBerry, the Canada-based Research in Motion, for a meeting and has also sought access to its encryption algorithms that could help decode e-mail messages sent using this service.

“All these are technological issues,” said Mittal. “I am sure they will all get resolved at the earliest,” Mittal told IANS, responding to the March 31 deadline for interception set by the government.

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