RIM to Give India Access to Its Blackberry Messenger Service by Sept. 1

Research In Motion Ltd. will give India access to its BlackBerry messenger service beginning Sept. 1 to address security concerns, two government officials said in New Delhi today. The stock fell the most in a month.

The Canadian company will first give agencies access to messenger services on a manual basis, with information provided for individual phone numbers after government requests, said the officials who declined to be named because the discussions are private. RIM will provide a more automated solution to tracking BlackBerry smartphone messages by November, the officials said.

Engineers from Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM will meet with technical staff from India’s Department of Telecommunications tomorrow, the officials said. The company is also working on a solution to allow access to corporate e-mails, they said.

India gave RIM time until Aug. 31 to resolve government concerns over some BlackBerry services, a government official said on Aug. 12. The country had sought to scrutinize BlackBerry services out of concern the devices may be used by to plan terrorist attacks or other illegal activities. RIM’s encryption prevents intelligence agencies from tapping communications.

Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for RIM, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

RIM slid $2.57, or 4.8 percent, to $50.83 at 4 p.m. on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has lost 25 percent this year.

No Special Access

RIM said on Aug. 4 it cooperates with governments around the world on a consistent basis and any claims it’s providing special access to one government are inaccurate. The company also said it can’t meet requests from governments for codes to users’ data because the BlackBerry corporate service was designed to prevent RIM, or anyone else, from being able to read encrypted information.

RIM issued a statement last week to customers that it said was in response to government comments in India.

“Although RIM cannot disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government, RIM assures its customers that it genuinely tries to be as cooperative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations,” the statement said.

The company also said the “security architecture” of its corporate e-mail system hasn’t been modified for any country.

In the United Arab Emirates, BlackBerry’s Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing services will be halted from Oct. 11, the nation’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said on Aug. 1. Other countries that have expressed concern about BlackBerry services, include Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

RIM has about 1.1 million users in India, 1.2 million subscribers in Indonesia and 1.2 million in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia together, said Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto. The company had 46 million subscribers globally at the end of May, according to an earnings statement in June.

To contact the reporters on this story: Santosh Kumar in New Delhi at sthakur10@bloomberg.net; Abhishek Shanker in Mumbai ashanker1@bloomberg.net

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