India threatens RIM over BlackBerry security concerns

The government of India has threatened to partially shut down RIM’s BlackBerry network if the company fails to satisfactorily address security concerns over certain smartphone services.

A shutdown would affect approximately one million Indian users, who would only be able to use the smartphone for phone calls and Internet browsing. 

“Our message to RIM and service providers is that if they don’t come up with a technical solution by Aug. 31, then the home ministry will take a view and will shut down BlackBerry Messenger and business enterprises services,” Onkar Kedia, the ministry’s spokesman confirmed in a statement quoted by Bloomberg.

Like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, India fears that the device could be exploited by terrorists to plan attacks as intelligence agencies are ostensibly incapable of intercepting and de-encrypting e-mails.

The demands leveled by New Delhi comes just days after RIM struck a deal with the Saudis and agreed to hand over codes for BlackBerry Messenger users.

However, Indian officials remain optimistic that a shutdown will be averted.

“RIM has assured us they will come [up] with some solution,”  a senior internal security official told Reuters.

“[Still], it remains to be seen whether they address our security concerns.”