Sunday, August 1, 2010


In today's NYTimes, via the AP, Saudi Arabia to Block BlackBerry Messaging. The UAE, however, decided first and Saudi Arabia decided to do so as well, which makes for a rather odd headline. The UAE isn't instituting the ban until October 11, and why they are taking so long isn't addressed in the article at all. (Saudi Arabia will, maybe, block messages "later this month.") I assume they could do it tomorrow if they wanted. Is it more a case of posturing, to get some local control over BlackBerry messaging?

From the article:
Regulators say the devices operate outside of laws put in place after their introduction in the country, and that the lack of compliance with local laws raises ''judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE.''
Regulators said they have sought compromises with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion on their concerns, but failed to reach an agreement on the issue.
Sounds like strong-arming. Why is this needed, and why only with BlackBerry?
Unlike many other smart phones, BlackBerry devices use a system that updates a user's inbox by sending encrypted messages through company servers abroad, including RIM's home nation of Canada.

Users like the system because it is seen as more secure, but it also makes BlackBerry messages far harder to monitor than ones sent through domestic servers that authorities could tap into, analysts say.
Ah, the surveillance society! I would assume the US already intercepts and decrypts all the BlackBerry info. Apparently we aren't sharing enough with the UAE or Saudi Arabia.

Addition: What this strongly implies, if not outright makes clear (ok it's clear, they just don't say it) is that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are already scanning/reading/monitoring/intercepting all the traffic they want on other phone devices.

The NYT decided their own writeup would be better than the thin AP wire feed, so they have an article up.