India may stop short of BlackBerry ban over security

The Indian government may stop short of ordering a ban on BlackBerry services in India as it presses for access to messages sent using the devices.

The Indian government is continuing in its demand that Research In Motion make it legally possible for the government to intercept and monitor emails on the BlackBerry service offered by Indian service providers, but it is not likely to use a ban of the service as a bargaining counter.

India's Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura said Friday in Delhi that the government is keen to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but there is no question of banning the Blackberry services.

The issue has delayed the granting of government permission to Tata Teleservices, an Indian mobile services provider, to offer BlackBerry services. Other mobile service providers already offering the BlackBerry service have also been issued notices by the government to allow it to intercept emails by March 31.

The country's Information Technology Act of 2000 allows the government under certain circumstances to intercept and monitor email.

RIM has not commented on the government demand for easier access to BlackBerry email. RIM operates in more than 130 countries around the world and respects the regulatory requirements of governments, the company said in a statement earlier this week. RIM does not comment on confidential regulatory matters or speculation on such matters in any given country, it added.

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