India sets deadline for potential BlackBerry stoppage

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In May, a Pakistani court banned Facebook in response to a competition on the social networking site to draw sketches of the Prophet Muhammad. Pakistan also blocked access to YouTube and Twitter.

Analysts say national security concerns have also been raised in the U.S.

Mr. Cleland, a deputy coordinator for communication and information policy in the George H.W. Bush administration, said that as “boundaryless” Internet communications become predominant countries are feeling “more and more out of the loop and out of control.”

“BlackBerry is one technology and one company … People need to understand that this is happening in a lot of countries,” he said.

In July, China renewed Google’s license, ending months of speculation that the Internet-search giant would be shut out of the world’s biggest market of online users.

The standoff with the Chinese government centered on Google’s refusal to censor search results on its Chinese site Google.cn.

Google shut its Chinese portal and redirected mainland China users to an uncensored site based in Hong Kong.

Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told The Times at the time that China “regulates its Internet and related matters according to its laws and following internationally accepted practices, and so long as foreign Internet companies operate within China’s legal framework, there’ll be no problems.”

Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai on Thursday instructed India’s Telecom Department to inform cell phone service providers that two Blackberry services - Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES) and Blackberry Messenger Service (BMS) - be made accessible to law enforcement agencies by Aug. 31.

“If a technical solution is not provided by 31st August, 2010, the government will review the position and take steps to block these two services from the network,” India’s Home Ministry said in a statement.

Blackberry services such as Voice, SMS and BIS already have been made available to law enforcement agencies in India.

Naqi Jaffery, chief analyst and executive vice president at Information Consulting LLC, says while many people would view such action as an infringement on personal liberties he is less uncomfortable.

“I tend to think that sometimes infringement of personal liberties is OK if it serves the broader purpose of combating threats to national security,” Mr. Jaffery said. “Sometimes there is an obsession with personal security that could compromise national security.”

In a statement provided to The Washington Times, RIM said it had spent “over a decade building a very strong security architecture to meet our enterprise customers’ strict security requirements around the world.”

“It is a solution that we are very proud of,” the company said.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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