Feeds

UAE sees security threat in BlackBerrys

Gulf of confusion

Boost IT visibility and business value

The United Arab Emirates has decided that BlackBerry handsets constitute a threat to national security, and is considering an outright ban.

The UAE regulator has made explicit its fears, in a statement to local media picked up by the Associated Press, that users might "abuse" the BlackBerry service to place their communication beyond the reach of UAE's police and security forces. BlackBerrys do this by storing email on out-of-country servers, and providing a decent level of server-to-handset encryption.

"As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored ... certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions," said the statement, making it clear that having email "managed by a foreign, commercial organisation" was not acceptable.

This follows last year's comedic attempt by state-owned operator Etisalat to slip spyware onto BlackBerry handsets concealed as a network upgrade. That failed, largely because the spyware was riddled with errors and so poorly obfuscated that even your correspondent was able to find the message-intercepting code.

That attempt seriously annoyed RIM, which felt its reputation was under fire. It also made users wary of downloading updates, so it's hard to imagine that a second attempt would be any more successful.

There are, of course, countless ways to communicate over the internet in a secure fashion, but RIM puts secure communications in the hands of every user by default, and various countries have objected to that over the years.

The UAE's regulator's sabre-rattling statement points out that the BlackBerry went on sale before "safety, emergency and national security legislation" was put into place in 2007, but stopped short of calling for an outright ban immediately – presumably in the hope that if it makes enough noise then RIM will come to the table to make a deal. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.