UAE brands BlackBerry a risk to national security
Is the use of a BlackBerry a security risk? The United Arab Emirates thinks so.
Because Research in Motion's computer servers are located outside the country, "it makes it easier for them to refuse requests from the authorities for users' personal data," according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which expressed fears that the BlackBerry manipulates data in a way that could allow it to be misused. "As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions," the TRA said in a statement; and that the BlackBerry was launched in the UAE before "safety, emergency and national security legislation" was enacted in 2007. This is the second major brouhaha involving the UAE. Just over a year ago, a major state run operator was caught directing customers to install spy-ware on their BlackBerry's. Rim countered by instructing users on how to remove the software.
A similar security situation is developing in India, where government officials are worried that their nation could be threatened by the way RIM handles data flowing through it's servers. The gulf state of Bahrain has threatened to pursue legal action against BlackBerry Messenger users for sharing news through the service.
Since not having direct access to a user’s data, and RIM's use of offshore server’s makes it easier to refuse such a request, the UAE may decide to ban BlackBerry’s outright. If this were to occur, I am sure there will be quite a few upset BlackBerry users in the United Arab Emirates.
So far, the UAE, nor RIM, have commented further.
Let us know what you think below.