India travelers worry over BlackBerry

An Indian woman accompanying a child walks past a billboard for Blackberry phones in Mumbai.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A week from today, millions of BlackBerry phones in India could be crippled by the government if the smartphone maker doesn't agree to unlock some of its private data. But now the government faces new pressure to back down from its threats -- getting push back from business travelers and visitors.

The latest from New Delhi, and Raymond Thibodeaux.


RAYMOND THIBODEAUX: Many in India say that the government is ignoring how critical the BlackBerry is to business. Harjiv Singh is co-founder of the public relations firm, Gutenberg Communications. He travels between New York and New Delhi.

HARJIV SINGH: I hope they come up with a solution pretty quickly. It's not just me, I have my entire team in India that uses BlackBerry.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has just one more week to comply with India's demand to let the government decrypt the phone's email system.

Bharat Karnad is a security analyst at the Center for Policy Research.

BHARAT KARNAD: It's obviously been determined by our intelligence agencies that media such as the BlackBerry is used by Islamic terrorists and other terrorist outfits.

It's not just business travelers who'd be angered by a shutdown. The country is hosting the Commonwealth Games sporting championships in less than two months time. Many of the organizers use the device. Plus, India has been hoping to lure tourists in the afterglow of the movie "Eat Pray Love." And, to be fair, visitors coming for that purpose would have discovered that many of the country's ashrams and yoga centers already ban cellphones.

In New Delhi, I'm Raymond Thibodeaux for Marketplace.

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