And the BlackBerry saga lives on in international territories. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Indian federal home ministry is in talks with the country’s BlackBerry-supporting telecom service providers to give the government access to corporate emails sent and received via RIM’S BB devices. This latest move comes after a fairly long episode involving RIM and the Indian government’s access demands, and has a very prominent potential of damaging RIM’s local BlackBerry sales if carried out.
“We don’t have a direct agreement with Research In Motion…we are only talking to [telecom] service providers,” said a spokesman for the federal home ministry.
Mobile phone companies such as Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Communications Ltd., Idea Cellular Ltd., Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., Tata Teleservices Ltd., Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., and Vodafone Essar Ltd., provide BlackBerry services in the country.”
The Indian federal ministry’s access approval is very close to being executed, and it’s about to become a serious blow to a number of parties. That includes RIM itself, who’s about to compromise one of its largest customer bases, the carriers, corporate BlackBerry customers and various privacy advocates.
The story with Research and Motion and the Indian government goes a long and complicated way back. The whole story began when the government presented RIM a 60-day ultimatum demanding the Canadian phonemaker to give it access to instant messages transmitted via Blackberry devices. Shortly after the news broke about the ultimatum, the government also demanded RIM to provide it access to BlackBerry e-mails as well, and eventually both the requests were answered.
After the news about the Indian government’s access to BBM and BIS cooled down a bit, we also discussed a release by RIM saying it won’t change its global policies regarding corporate BlackBerry communications. However, as we found out today, it was all just a matter of time.