India Hopes for Blackberry Solution by Aug 31

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India Friday said the ongoing discussions with Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) would result in a solution, satisfying the country's security concerns."The discussions are still going on. We are not in the business of shutting down services," Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot said on the sidelines of an e-governance seminar here.

RIM officials began talks on access to encrypted data with the home and telecom ministry Thursday. Talks are scheduled for the next few days and "I am hopeful we will come up with some solution", added Pilot.

India has set Aug 31 as deadline for the country's telecom operators to give access to decoded data sent via BlackBerry devices to law enforcement and security agencies, just as they have access to SMS messages and phone calls. "I think these concerns have been addressed in other parts of the world. I see no reason why the Indian government should take any risk at all as far as technology is concerned," said Pilot, alluding to reports that US security agencies have access to blackberry data.

The company is also looking at some level of access to Saudi Arabia, which said it would ban the devices if its security apparatus did not get access to the data transmitted through these smart phones. A home ministry official, privy to the discussions with RIM, said the Blackberry manufacturer had provided some technical solution to access their enterprise services at Thursday's meeting.

Asked about how far the solution meets the country's security concerns, the official said: "We are yet to assess its efficacy. A technical discussion is underway currently to examine its workability."

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