The Indian government is threatening to ban Research In Motion from operating inside the country if it does not provide keys to decrypt emails and other messages sent over the BlackBerry Enterprise Server service by 31 March, according to reports.
Research in Motion (RIM) — makers of BlackBerry smartphones — received similar threats from officials in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries but has not yet been banned in any of them. RIM has always maintained that it is incapable of providing encryption keys as it does not have them.
According to The Economic Times of India, the lack of a ban in any of the other countries that have threatened to block services led the Indian authorities to conclude RIM had entered into secret agreements to provide access.
"Intelligence agencies, the interior ministry and telecom ministry are of the view that the Canadian company may have cut deals in other countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, China and the US, whose governments have access to enterprise services on BlackBerry handsets," The Economic Times of India report said, citing "an official directly aware of the development".
India had already threatened to block RIM from operating if it did not provide access to the service by 31 January, but the ban did not take place.
Instead, RIM provided authorities with access to its consumer email and instant messaging features that do not use the encrypted BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) service. However, India said on 2 February that it still wanted access to encrypted messages sent using the BES system.
At the time of writing, RIM had not responded to a ZDNet UK request for comment.