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RIM Outlines 4 Main Principles of Lawful Access to BlackBerry Data


blackberry in india

RIM has made an official announcement to customers saying it is cooperating with the Indian government as well as other governments during the recent string of complaints regarding access to information. RIM has said that it is cooperating with these governments “in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations.”

Following this statement, RIM has outlined four main principles that governments must follow if they are to work with RIM on access to private data:
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Indian Government Still Asking for Backdoor to BlackBerry Service


The Indian government has been asking for a backdoor to BlackBerry email for some time now. The Indian Intelligence Services see BlackBerry as a security threat because it allows individuals to communicate over a secure network without the government monitoring the chatter. In the past, the Indian government asked RIM to give them a backdoor to the infrastructure so they could monitor the system but RIM denied them this feature. It doesn’t make any sense for RIM to offer a backdoor because it sets a presedence for weakening the security for governments which is the device’s competitive advantage.

Recently, the Indian Department of Telecom (DoT) has put RIM and Skype on a potential ban list unless they make data going through their networks available to security agencies in a readable format.

“DoT will call the representatives of Research In Motion (manufacturer of Blackberry devices) and Skype and ask them to ensure that the content going through the telecom service providers is in readable format. They have to ensure that this is implemented within 15 days failing which services that do not allow lawful interception on a real-time basis would be blocked/banned,” said an internal Government note.

It’s an interesting conundrum because on the one hand, users shouldn’t feel like the government is watching them, but on the other hand, there is a more present threat of terrorism in India than in most countries. It’s a common “Big Brother” argument. Should you let the government spy on citizens for the greater good, or ban it outright out of principle?

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RIM Likely to Profit from $11bn 3G License Auction in India


The 3G auction in India raised an astounding $11 billion by selling licenses to major carriers such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Aircel. Considering the low price of communications in India, $11 billion is even more incredible.

Now that the 3G licenses are in place, these carriers are going to need to sell a lot of 3G enabled devices to start collecting some revenue. BlackBerry have a solid footing in India, and we can expect the company to profit significantly after this auction. Just recently, the Bold 9700 was launched in India and users can also use the Storm2 9550 on the country’s 3G networks. I’m sure we’ll see some of the next generation devices hit India as well to cater to the high-end smartphone buyers.

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Indian Government Reviewing the Use of BlackBerrys in Public Sector


Manmohan Singh

The Indian Government has recently been the victim of attempts by Chinese state-backed hackers to retrieve classified information from government officials, pushing their security agencies to rethink mobile policies. With BlackBerry being the device of choice for the public sector, it’s important that governments can trust the platform to protect their data in light of recent major cyber attacks.
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BlackBerry service now available in Nagaland



It’s interesting to see where RIM is heading to next. It’s sort of like Where in World is Carmen Sandiego, but for gadget geeks. The Morung Express is reporting that pre-paid BlackBerry data and voice plans are now available in Nagaland, a hill state located in the far north-eastern part of India.

The region is very rural and mostly fueled by agriculture, but BlackBerry data plans would mean residents would start getting Internet service where they may otherwise not have had any. Airtel is responsible for the services, and they have already employed many residents, further helping develop the region.

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RIM executive talks about the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in India



Earlier this month, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 launched in India on a prepaid model. According to RIM executive Frenny Bawa, the 8520 “was designed with India in mind. It’s the lowest price BlackBerry we have ever launched and [with social networking trends in mind], it is loaded with dedicated multimedia keys and a trackpad.”

As RIM continues to grow in developing markets with great potential such as Latin America, countries such as India are key to a global strategy. According to Bawa, “India adds an average of 10 million new mobile phone subscribers a month. This is significant and, of course, RIM wants to participate in this growth.”

BlackBerry devices are selling well in India and the market could prove as a testing bed for successful sales strategies in a developing market. In the past year, RIM has increased its partners in India to 8, and tripled staff.

“One of the most significant changes is that we have tweaked our strategy to better suit the way the Indian consumer buys a smartphone,” said Bawa. RIM has partnered with Reddington India, a national distributor, to put BlackBerry devices into retail outlets across nine Indian cities instead of making them available only via carriers.

“Since then, the availability of BlackBerrys in India has mushroomed significantly,” said Bawa. “It was very obvious that we didn’t have the right distribution strategy. When we entered the Indian market [about five years ago], we were exporting the North American business model, which focused more on corporate users. Today, however, 45 per cent of our global users are consumers.”

It should be interesting to see what sort of strategies are needed to sell devices in Latin America and Africa. While prepaid is a major driving force behind sales, the price point is key as well. Perhaps we’ll see a resurgence of older models in the developing world.