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RIM Hires Ex-Prime Minister Aide Amid Service Threats

Research In Motion Ltd. hired Mark Cameron, a former aide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to be director of global public policy amid growing government scrutiny of the BlackBerry maker’s services.

Cameron, who was director of policy and research in the Prime Minister’s Office until 2008, began working for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company in January, according to his page on the professional-networking site LinkedIn Corp. Marisa Conway, a RIM spokeswoman, confirmed his hiring.

Telecommunications regulators in several countries have threatened to shut down BlackBerry services over concerns its secure messaging could be used to foment social unrest or coordinate terrorist attacks. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates contemplated such steps last year.

Citing similar concerns, Indian authorities had set a deadline of Jan. 31 for RIM to allow the country’s security agencies to monitor BlackBerry service or face a possible shutdown. On Feb. 4, the authorities said they would give RIM more time to comply.

The government actions come as RIM is boosting growth beyond its traditional markets. Sales outside Canada, the U.S. and U.K. more than doubled to $2.42 billion last quarter from a year earlier.

Overseas Trips

Chief Executive Officer Jim Balsillie has made at least one trip to the Gulf region in the past year and Robert Crow, RIM’s vice president of industry, government and university relations, has made multiple trips to India to discuss the issue with authorities there.

Crow told reporters in New Delhi last month that doubts about RIM’s ability to operate in the world’s second-most-populous nation have hurt India’s reputation “as a safe place to do investment” and made corporate customers “nervous.”

RIM hired David Paterson, a former head of government relations at General Motors Co.’s Canadian unit, in September to become vice-president, government relations and public policy.

The company’s stock rose 17 cents to $69.86 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have climbed 20 percent this year.

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