India sets Aug. 31 deadline for BlackBerry info

Blackberry Phone

(AP) -- India's Home Ministry threatened Thursday to block BlackBerry corporate e-mail and messaging services unless the device's manufacturer, Research In Motion Ltd., makes them accessible to its security agencies by Aug. 31.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also threatened to cut off popular BlackBerry services unless they get greater access to user information. Like , they've cited security concerns in pushing for access to encrypted information sent by the cell phones that gets routed through the Canadian company's servers overseas.

India has asked for encrypted communications to be made easily available to its intelligence and law enforcement agencies, saying that the services could be used by militant groups.

The 10 heavily armed gunmen who rampaged through Mumbai, India's financial capital, in November 2008, killing 166 people, used cell and satellite phones to communicate with their Pakistan-based handlers, according to Indian officials.

had no immediate comment on India's announcement. It has said its discussions with regulators around the world are private.

The announcement came after a meeting of India's home secretary, an official in charge of domestic security, and representatives of security agencies and the government's telecommunications department, the ministry said in a statement.


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