Feeds

UAE sees security threat in BlackBerrys

Gulf of confusion

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.