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Canada `pleased' with reprieve for BlackBerry

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By Gurmukh Singh - - - - - - Toronto, Aug 31 (IANS) BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) Monday refused to comment on concessions it has granted India in getting a 60-day reprieve for ban on its services from Aug 31. But Canadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan was "pleased" with the developments between RIM and the Indian government.

"We'll let you know when we have any further updates,'' RIM told IANS in its brief response.         
The wireless giant, which has more than a million BlackBerry subscribers in the world's second fastest growing economy, has reportedly given some solutions to India to monitor its encrypted emails and instant messages.         
"RIM have made certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies and these would be operationalized immediately. The feasibility of the solutions offered would be assessed thereafter,'' an Indian home ministry statement said Monday, a day before the Aug 31 deadline for the BlackBerry maker.         
Though RIM has already made BlackBerry Internet, voice calls and messenger available to the authorities, India is seeking access to its unique encrypted service for business and corporate clients which is routed through RIM's own servers based in the UK and Canada.         
India wants access to all encrypted communications as the terrorists involved the 2008 Mumbai attack communicated with their handlers by using sophisticated technology. It wants the Canadian company to install a server in India to monitor this service, though fears have been expressed that countries seeking access to encrypted business emails are interested more in corporate espionage.         
RIM is not willing to compromise on the privacy of this encrypted service which has made its smart phones a darling of businesses.         
Reacting to Monday's developments, Canadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan is reported to have said that he was "pleased" with the outcome as the delay offers some breathing room, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper.         
Re-iterating his government's support for the iconic company, the minister was quoted as saying, "It is our practice to stand up for Canadian companies doing business around the world.''         
Reports said Canadian government officials based in India will be involved in thrashing out a strategy in dealing with Indian officials in the coming weeks.         
With the Indian smart phone market expected to reach 12 million by the end of this year and 40 million by 2015, RIM cannot afford to jeopardize its chances in the world's fastest growing wireless communication market.         
The two-month reprieve for the company helped halt the slide in RIM stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange Monday. After rising almost $2 during the day, the stock closed two cents higher at $48.37.         
From its high of more than $150 in June 2008, RIM stock has lost more than two-thirds of its value since then.         
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)