No ban on BlackBerry: Telecom Secretary

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New Delhi, Mar 14: The government today said it is not considering any ban on BlackBerry services at this point and is in discussion with the operators to resolve the issue. ''There is no question of banning at this point. We are in discussion with the various stakeholers to resolve the issue,'' Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura told reporters here on the sidelines of a conference here.

The government is talking to the telecom operators and Research In Motion (RIM) to resolve the security concerns, he added. The Home Ministry hade last week expressed concern over the alleged security threat that BlackBerry services offers in absence of a server here, which does not allow for government interception. It started with the Tata Telecommunication's application for Blackberry service being rejected by the government on the same grounds. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had written to the other BlackBerry service operators that includes Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance.

All value-added services, including BlackBerry, has to have prior approval of the government to ensure that they have lawful interception. Developed by Canadian firm, Research In Motion (RIM), Blackberry is a patented service that allows access to e-mails on mobile phones, besides offering other features of a mobile phone. Mobile phone industry analysts put the number of BlackBerry subscribers in the country at about half a million, and it would come as a huge blow to them.


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