Switchfast Blog: The Future of IT
The Best Kind of Complaint? RIM Fights for Its 'Too Secure' Network
Friday, August 06, 2010 by Bryan Anderson
Research in Motion, the company behind the business-oriented
mobile phone Blackberry, find themselves in a sticky situation in
regards to their established Blackberry messaging services. Saudi
Arabia has voiced its concerns over Blackberry's encrypted services
and has requested Research in Motion, RIM, to provide them access
to users' confidential data. The Saudi Arabian government believes
that the encrypted services disrupt their ability to monitor
conversations in regards to protecting "national security."
It's not only Saudi Arabia either-United Arab Emirates,
Indonesia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait have also voiced their
opposition to RIM and their intentions to block the network
altogether by the beginning of October.
RIM has held its ground despite the call to release
user data. CEO Michael Lazaridis has been emphatic about his
company's position, stating that "no one, not even the company
itself, can access the data or disclose the encryption key." He
also noted that "everything on the internet is encrypted, this is
not just a Blackberry-only issue."
Lazaridis is not without support-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton has stated that she will assist in resolving the issue, saying
they will "pursue both technical and expert discussions as we go,
taking time to consult and analyze the full range of interests and
issues at stake."
Reporters Without Borders, an organization which promotes free
press and human rights worldwide, wrote to Lazaridis "urging him not to yield to
pressure and to guarantee data confidentiality." According to a
report from the organization, the United Arab Emirates is ranked as
a "country under surveillance" and Saudi Arabia is ranked as an
"enemy of the internet."
It is believed that Saudi Arabia attempted for a short time to cut off service
and follow through on its threats to block Blackberry messenger
services. However, after a few hours of reported BBM network
failures, the service returned to full form, according to Engadget
sources including Yahoo! News.
This international spat brings an important issue to the
spotlight-When does a legitimate security concern outweigh the
right of free use and access? Or vice versa? And on what basis is
"security concern" and "free use" determined?
For Blackberry, a business-centric mobile brand, the need for
communications and data security becomes more of an issue than with
other consumer-oriented mobile devices. A plethora of
entrepreneurs, professionals, mobile employees, and small
businesses utilize RIM's solid interface and enterprise features.
Handing private communication data to international governments
would defy the very existence of RIM's product-a secure, useable
mobile enterprise utility.
Until next time -
Chicago IT Support &
IT Support & Consulting