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India sets BlackBerry data-monitoring deadline

Networks must allow monitoring by August 31

The Indian government has officially asked its mobile networks to ensure they have the ability to monitor emails and messages sent using BlackBerry services by August 31.

"We have received a letter ... asking us to ensure that legal intervention capability is put in place for BlackBerry services by 31 August 2010," said one of the networks, Tata Teleservices.

Two other mobile network in the country confirmed they had received similar letters.

Last week, the Indian government announced it will block BlackBerry Messenger and email services on August 31 unless Research in Motion (RIM) allows the country's authorities to access data sent using the these services.

India already has access to telephone calls and text messages sent using BlackBerrys.

India's plan to block the services follow similar announcements from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The way the messages are encrypted has lead to the threat of bans, as authorities in these countries are unable to monitor and trace the communications.

However, the Saudi Arabian authorities backtracked after RIM met a number of requirements, which were not disclosed.

RIM is still in discussions with the UAE about halting the suspension of services, which was due to start on October 11.

RIM said it was unable to "disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government".

However, the company said it "genuinely tries to be as co-operative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations".

See also: Flash for BlackBerry still a work in progress

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