BlackBerry Storm (9500) faces a hurdle in India due to recent Mumbai attacks

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NEW DELHI - Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIMM) plans to introduce its latest handheld device, the BlackBerry Storm 9500, in India has run into security problems, according to a government document.

The maker of the BlackBerry handheld device first introduced its service in India in October 2004, but a spate of terrorist attacks including the latest one in Mumbai, has increased concerns about the use of BlackBerry.

Security agencies in India can't access information sent over the Blackberry because the Canadian company's servers are located outside India, and even when they do get access, they can't decrypt the messages, analysts say.

"It is understood that the Blackberry equipment uses encrypted data for e-mail transmission through a gateway outside our country," the Wireless Planning & Coordination wing of Department of Telecommunications, or the DoT, said in an internal note seen by Dow Jones Newswires.

The note was sent to the security wing of the DoT. The new Blackberry device can't be introduced in the country without the security wing's approval.
Senior BlackBerry officials are expected to meet government officials in the first-half of December on the security issues that have been raised.

BlackBerry services are offered by five companies in India - Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Communications Ltd., BPL Mobile Ltd., Vodafone Essar Ltd., and Tata Teleservices Ltd.

Research firm Gartner Inc. (IT) said the Storm is RIM's most important launch to date and has the potential to be a major product for the company.

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