Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Blow For Blackberry

This week we heard about the UAE and then Saudi Arabia banning RIM Blackberry phones based on security issues. Basically these countries have rather specific requirements - servers cannot be based overseas where governments cannot trace the data. So it's really secure for the user but apparently not for certain governments. There are around 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE and around 750,000 BlackBerry users in Saudi Arabia.  The ban will also affect visitors to the country and even travelers in transit, which does pose a serious problem for business users. 

Following on from this news, the EU has just announced it will switch its 32,000 workers to HTC and iPhones, citing these are more desirable platforms for voice and mail apps.  Certainly, RIM's past dominance is being challenged with these new generation multimedia smartphones.  Reviews of the new Blackberry Torch don't seem to indicate that this phone will lure Android or iPhones users and is likely only to appeal to diehard Blackberry fans.  

RIM has until October this year to remedy the problem, which means placing servers inside the particular country to enable government to monitor and access, for reasons of national security.  


Audrey Peters on August 9, 2010 at 9:28 AM said...

Update to this story: Blackberry has agreed to place a server inside Saudi Arabia, allowing Saudi telecom officials to monitor messages. It's a precedent and undermines the freedom of the Internet. Basically, all emails will be read by the government so bear that in mind if you are visiting.

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