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Middle East questions get under RIM boss’s skin

Interview ends when talk turns from products to security

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Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has terminated an interview with the BBC's Click programme when questioned about Blackberry security in the Middle East.

The Blackberry boss was happy enough to talk up the company's new Playbook tablet machine. However, when asked about pressure from regimes to help wiretap Blackberry devices, he abruptly killed the interview.

Since mid-2010, RIM has repeatedly stated that customer data remains secure, in spite of reports that countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted access to its encryption keys. Media speculation that RIM had buckled reached fever pitch when a public row between the company and the Emirates government ended with a major government contract.

In an interview recorded for the BBC's Click programme, technology reporter Rory Cellan-Jones asked Lazaridis whether the Middle East "security issues" had been "sorted out".

"That's just not fair," Lazaridis said. "You've implied we have a security problem – we don't have a security problem.

"We've been singled out ... just because of our success," he said, shortly before terminating the interview.

The BBC has its clip of the end of the interview here. ®

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