Indian Official Says No Threat From BlackBerry Use

An official of the Indian government has dismissed concerns about security of BlackBerry service, though it is not clear whether he is also expressing the view of government security agencies that want to be able to intercept messages sent through the service as a way to combat terrorism.

"There is no threat from BlackBerry services,'' the country's Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura told reporters in Delhi on Wednesday. The security agencies have said that the use of BlackBerry devices poses a threat because they could be used for criminal communications.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion in May said that it was unable to provide the security agencies with access to messages sent over the BlackBerry service.

The BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers is specially designed to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information under any circumstances, the company said in a statement.

Four mobile service providers are offering BlackBerry services in India, and there were fears that they would have to stop offering the service because of the security concerns. However, Behura said in March that while the government was keen on resolving the security issue, there was no question of banning the service.

Telecom Minister A. Raja said in early June that the security issues over BlackBerry are likely to be resolved by the end of the month. It is not clear whether an agreement has been reached by the government and RIM, or whether the government has now changed its stand.

In March, Indian operator Tata Teleservices said that the government had refused it permission to offer BlackBerry services, citing security concerns. Behura said on Wednesday that permission from the government was not required to offer the service, as it is a value-added service provided by operators.

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