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RIM backdoor access for Indian probers

Mumbai centre up and running since earlier this year

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RIM has opened a monitoring centre in Mumbai to help the Indian government sip data from Blackberry users there, said the Wall Street Journal today, quoting unnamed sources.

The Canadian firm opened the small facility earlier this year to deal with requests from Indian intelligence agencies, the paper reports. RIM will hand over messages and emails from suspect individuals to the Indian government – providing it is satisfied that the demands are legally justified.

It is encrypted email and BBM messages in particular that Indian cops are interested in, the Indian government reportedly fearing that the messaging channels could be used for organising terrorist attacks. RIM can't hand over corporate emails, because individual companies hold the keys to that information. However India seems to be satisfied with the current compromise that gives it access to consumer accounts.

The Wall Street Journal said RIM was no longer facing the prospect of shutdowns by the Indian government, ending a stand-off that has lasted several years.

India's Telecoms Minister Milind Deora was quoted by the daily saying that the government still wants to "find some middle ground" with RIM.

India, which has the world's fastest-growing number of mobile users, has also asked Google and Skype to set up servers in the country to allow law enforcers to screen traffic. ®

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