Feeds

UAE sees security threat in BlackBerrys

Gulf of confusion

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.