Temporary Relief for BlackBerry in Saudi Arabia

The Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) gets a temporary reliever as Saudi Arabia Government decides to lift the ban ‘temporarily’ on some of the services, owing to progress made by the Blackberry maker in addressing security concerns. It is not yet clear whether an explicit deal has been reached by the two parties or not. The Government threatened to ban the Messenger service last Friday but it was later extended by 48 hours (ending Monday) to test the domestic servers transmit the data in addition to RIM’s server in Canada.

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Incidentally, Reuters has reported that the RIM has agreed to share unique pin number and code with the Saudi Arabia Government. This would allow the authorities to read the encrypted messages sent through the messenger. However, this is applicable to all the Blackberry phones registered in Saudi only. Earlier, there were proposals to set the Blackberry server at each of the three Saudi service providers but it was soon deemed as unpractical. The recent proposal would effectively give access to RIM’s main Messenger server.

Discussion

Rise of militant threats and national and international security is forcing governments of various countries to compromise citizen’s privacy rights to keep them safe. In case of RIM, it seems that they have to choose between a bad scenario and a worse scenario. They have to either abide by the stringent security norms laid down by the governments compromising a bit with the USP of the service they are providing or lose the entire customer base in these countries. Moreover, it is up to RIM to provide a common solution to all the concerned governments or provide a customized country specific solution.

So what does it mean to India? India can expect a deal on similar lines. Earlier, The Department of Telecom made a similar proposal asking RIM to set up its server in India.

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