India Temporarily Extends BlackBerry’s Lifeline

The Indian government delayed a ban on Blackberry services, which was threatened for Tuesday, allowing the wireless company, Research in Motion, to continue operations pending a 60-day security test.

This is the latest development in an ongoing tug-of-war between RIM and India, who are debating how much access the country’s government should get to Canadian-based BlackBerry’s encrypted data services.

The Indian government says access to email and data services are essential in maintaining the country’s national security; meanwhile, RIM is reluctant to turn over peoples’ private correspondence to the government.

It appears that the parties reached some sort of agreement, though it remains unclear what consensus was struck.

In a statement, the Indian government said Blackberry allowed access to certain portions of information, which would be operationalized immediately. However, the government showed some skepticism saying, “The feasibility of the solutions offered would be assessed thereafter.”

The Indian government, along with several others, says terrorists exploit the encrypted data services, using them to correspond clandestinely. The government says terms of use agreements obligate wireless phone companies to divulge information as it is requested by law enforcement agencies.

RIM says that it can’t provide unencrypted messages and e-mail. The only servers that can decode the messages are owned privately by RIM’s corporate customers. So, messages are encrypted automatically by the phones and reach RIM’s servers in Canada in encrypted form.

The battles between RIM and countries like India and the United Arab Emirates have caused skepticism among investors, causing the company’s shares to drop significantly. On Monday shares closed at $45.59, down .88 percent.