Continuing on the hottest topic this week, Blackberry services are destined to be blocked in the UAE by the 11th of October 2010, and Etisalat and Du are coming up with attractive options for the users who are using the service at the moment, I tried to do my bit, when I wrote about the alternatives you can use in case the service does get blocked. But in a bizarre twist of events, Blackberry along with the lunch of their new device the Blackberry Pearl 9105 and the new OS, OS6 have also made another announcement. They have decided to allow government agencies to snoop into the email and messenger services.
Research in Motion (RIM) has offered to share with security agencies its technical codes for corporate email services, open up access to all consumer emails within 15 days and also develop tools in 6 to 8 months to allow monitoring of chats– source. They have also issued a report on Yahoo Finance stating that they met with the UAE authorities as well and offered to give them the information they need to monitor Blackberry Services. They have agreed to provide the Metadata of the message i.e. the IP address of the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and PIN & IMEI of the BlackBerry mobile. Feels like it was a move by BlackBerry to catch the bluff of the UAE telecom providers. The concerned internet service provider can also tell the location of the services as well. From this information, the security agencies can easily locate the BES and obtain the decrypted message. They also stated that they have a set-up to help the security agencies in tracking the messages in which security agencies are interested in.
RIM executives had presented these compromise solutions to India’s telecom department during meetings on July 27 and July 30. These meetings were held after the Indian government had given RIM a 15-day deadline, ending July, to ensure that its email and other data services comply with ‘formats that can be read by security and intelligence agencies’. And later after they had the ban announced from the UAE government, they have decided to give in.
This completely negates the argument of security now that TRA had initially, However what is to be still seen is whether the government agency will back down or continue with the ban in which case there is definitely going to be an outcry from the people. Will the Telecom continue trying to sell silly deals, or will they man up and continue prioviding the data services as before, now that the security issue seems to be sorting itself out. We will have to wait and see, what do you think ?