Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Like your Blackberry? Don't go to the UAE!

An estimated 1 in 10 citizens of the United Arab Emirates (a tiny country near Saudi Arabia) owns a Blackberry. Unfortunately, those people are going to have to switch phones or learn to live without their smartphone, because of a recent revelation by that country's telecom regulator.

October 11th of this year happens on a Monday. For most people around the world that means you'll wake up pissed off that it got here so early, and the weekend is over. You'll begrudgingly head to work, perhaps tapping away at your smartphone's screen for early morning entertainment, and you won't think twice about who else saw your text from the night before when you had one too many tequila shots and sent out that picture of you dancing naked on a table wearing a sombrero. Unless you live in the U.A.E.

If you live in the U.A.E., you'll be extra pissed - and probably more than a little despondent - because your Blackberry will be dead. The country is cutting off Blackberry service to its citizens. It's not because some deal with the smartphone giant went awry, and it's not because the new version of the iPhone should be out by then. No, it's because BlackBerry does such a good job of encrypting your data that the country can't read it fast enough. The U.A.E.'s Telecom Regulation Authority stated that it was a 'national-security' threat.

Yeah, the country wants to be able to read every text, see every website, look at every picture, view every video, and hear every audio clip you send out from your phone. Apparently, though, there is a bit of hope. The maker of the BlackBerry - Research in Motion (RIM) - has until October 11th to comply with the country's demands of allowing greater access to the encrypted information.

The fear among many states is that the device makes life easy for money-launderers, terrorists or other criminals because of the strong end-to-end security built into both the devices and the central servers. This makes surveillance by law-enforcement agencies difficult or even impossible.
In a statement Tuesday, RIM said it can't give access to encrypted data and doesn't give any one government special treatment. "Any claims that we provide, or have ever provided, something unique to the government of one country that we have not offered to the governments of all countries, are unfounded," it said.

I think it's rather obvious what the concern is to the rest of the world: WTF IS UP WITH THIS BIG BROTHER BULLSHIT?! Can't we text without the government needing to see every little emoticon? Can't we browse the web without having to know that some federal computer programmer sees every little internet indiscretion? Isn't this 2010?

However, what this should do is give BlackBerry users a reason to love their phones more! Governments can't peek in on your info as easily as they can mine... Yikes!

Comment, tweet, or email your thoughts to IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

5 comments:

  1. I really hope that Backberry doesn't give in, keeps the strong encryption and the people of the UAE get really really pissed off and this backfires. I know that if I was told my phone made it too hard to spy on me and I should use some other one... I wouldn't. It seems privacy is getting hard and harder to come by these days...

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  2. Wow, I'm now incredibly glad I decided to keep my BlackBerry.

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  3. Its kind of amusing how the world doesn't want to judge another culture, until they start to mess with something like this =p

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  4. I have given you an award http://witchygodmother.blogspot.com/2010/08/award-thanks.html

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  5. Holy Hell.
    I just had a complete 1984 flashback.

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