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RIM resists calls to kill the Messenger in strife

Yesterday, we ran a story stating that BlackBerry maker RIM would be willing to shut down its Messenger serivce if asked by UK authorities in the event of civil unrest.

RIM has asked us to point out that its spokesman Stephen Bates in appearing before Commons Select Committee yesterday stated that RIM would work with the mobile operators to meet their obligations.

That is, he sought to say that RIM would not unilaterally shut down its BlackBerry Messenger service. Rather, he said RIM would act within the framework of the Telecommunications Act 2003, which applies to the mobile operators in the UK.

"It does not directly apply to RIM and under this legislation RIM has no direct obligations," the company told thinq_ in an email this morning.

If this item of legislation was used it would require all the mobile operators to shut down their mobile networks in the UK.

"To clarify, RIM would not close down its services in the UK, the mobile operators would by switching off their mobile networks," the company notes.

"In the unlikely event of the mobile networks being shut down that would of course impact all mobile phones and smartphones not just BlackBerry.

And the action would not be instigated by RIM as you state. RIM would comply with the required technical process of the mobile operators."

It seems we may have misunderstood Bates' utterances before the Committee.

In short, the company agreed to operate within the law, as it would in any territory in which it operates, but would not be shutting off its Messenger service as a favour to police or politician.