To BB Or Not To Be: The Ongoing Dilemma In The Middle East For RIM

August 8, 2010 | By | 5 Comments

With the ongoing ban that was a few hours long in Saudi, and the United Arab Emirates threatened ban scheduled for October, RIM has it’s hurdles to overcome. Especially with Indonesia and India expressing their concerns as well. The outcome could set the criterion of how governments and technology companies work together. Here’s the scoop…

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants a preliminary agreement with RIM to allow them some access to user’s information to stop the ban. This agreement will include the placement of a BlackBerry server in Saudi Arabia. This will allow the government to monitor data and calm the fears that BlackBerry smartphones are being used in criminal activity. One official, Bandar al-Mohammed, has told the Associated Press that RIM has expressed the intention of to place a server in there.

The UAE is concerned as they have had ongoing issues with the al-Qaida-linked extremists in their country and crimes pertaining to them, and they worry that BlackBerry can be used for that and they have no access to that information.

Even though the messages on a BlackBerry are encrypted, this will open messages to Saudi surveillance. The way BlackBerry encryption works is that emails are encrypted only between the users and the server. Within the server messages are unencrypted for sorting and distribution. This will leave the encryption irrelevant to the Saudi government as they’ll be able to read everything.

It is similar to deals that RIM has had with Russia and China. The UAE is also strict with the internet as they block sites with political content and obscenities.

Bahrain has stated that they are not going to join the ban, as they do have concerns but their fears over security don’t weigh above the benefits of technology. In fact, the words used about such a ban of limiting the BlackBerry services would be: ignorant, short-sighted, and unenforceable.

It will be interesting to see what RIM does, and how the agreements come into being, and whether or not RIM is setting a template for the way foreign governments/businesses and technology companies work together.

[via: The Huffington Post]

Filed in: BlackBerry, RIM, Security | Tags: , , , , , ,

  • MarvinK

    Isn’t that only true for BIS email? I don’t think RIM can read emails that go through a BES.

  • Susan

    Martin,

    This is going to apply to the BES in the Middle East. Once it’s in the server, it is decrypted to send the messages on their way. But in the Middle East they will have access to those messages.

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