Just weeks after Research in Motion installed servers in Saudi Arabia to allow authorities there to monitor Blackberry messaging traffic and avoid being shut down in the Kingdom, an encore of the drama is playing out in India.
The Indian government has pledged to shut down RIM's encrypted services in the country at the end of the month, citing security concerns just as a handful of other Asian countries have done this summer. Now it appears RIM is employing a stalling technique with the deadline less than a week away. On Thursday the company proposed a forum with industry and government officials to try and sort out the security issues.
“Finding the right balance to address both regulatory and commercial needs in this matter is an ongoing process and RIM has assured the government of India of its continued support and respect for India’s legal and national security requirements,” the company said.
Throughout the ongoing conflicts over security and data in the region, RIM has insisted that it has no simple way of just "giving authorities the key" to decrypt and monitor the stream of instant and text messages being sent on Blackberries within the country; although installing servers in Saudi Arabia seemed to do the trick. The company also complains that it is being singled out from among a number of other mobile messaging providers.
Most analysts agree that the insistence on the part of the Indian government is the result of ongoing tensions with neighboring Pakistan and that security fears increased greatly following the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008.
If messaging does go dark in India, it's estimated that the ban would effect roughly a million Blackberry customers.
It's reported that RIM's olive branch may be softening sentiments in Delhi, along with claims by Indian official that RIM has promised at least limited access to monitor instant messaging by next week's deadline.
The talks are expected to take place on Saturday, with a decision from Indian authorities to follow on Monday.
Image by re-ality on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.