Not any more

RIM outlines criteria for providing state BlackBerry access

In Canada on August 12, 2010 at 20:18

OTTAWA — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. announced Thursday what it calls four principles that will guide negotiations between itself and foreign governments over access to its network.

RIM’s announcement is in response to Thursday’s threat by the government of India that it will "take steps to block" BlackBerry Enterprise Service and BlackBerry Messenger Service starting Aug. 31 if the two aren’t "made accessible to law enforcement."

The Indian government’s statement added that "the BlackBerry services like Voice, SMS and BIS have been made available to law enforcement agencies."

The government of India did not elaborate and RIM didn’t respond to interview requests.

After India’s announcement, RIM released a "customer update," which stated the company "has drawn a firm line" as it tried to co-operate with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while preserving the privacy of citizens and corporations.

Any capability it provides to carriers will be limited by four principles, RIM says.

First, a carrier must observe the strict context of lawful access and national security requirements by the country’s judiciary and rules of law.

Second, the carrier’s demands must be what BlackBerry calls "technology and vendor neutral," which means RIM can’t be asked to do anything more than any competitor or similar tech company.

Third, there will be no changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. RIM maintains it does not have the ability to provide a customer’s encryption key.

Lastly, RIM says it maintains a "consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific purposes."

However, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company is not providing details about any of the negotiations it has had with foreign governments.

Saudi Arabian state news agency said that RIM has finished "parts of regulatory requirements" that will allow the company to continue its presence in that country.

The United Arab Emirates announced they plan to ban BlackBerry services beginning in early October, and Kuwait, Algeria, Lebanon and Indonesia have also reportedly expressed their security concerns with RIM.

One of Canada’s foremost telecommunications analysts, Eamon Hoey, senior partner with Hoey Associates, said "BlackBerry has drawn a line in the sand," which is something he has called publicly for.

His only concern is the first of RIM’s principles, which states a carrier must observe the strict context of that particular country’s laws.

Just by adhering to a country’s privacy laws doesn’t ensure a citizen or a corporation will be adequately protected, he said.

"Countries like Kuwait might not have the same protocols like Canada does for tapping phones," he said.

© Copyright (c) Reuters


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: