Friday, August 6, 2010

Yum, Blackberries

Okay, what is going on in the Gulf States? First the UAE decides to ban the Blackberry, then Saudi Arabia jumps on the bandwagon and preempts them. So service stops in Saudi Arabia, only to start up again. Indonesia (a Muslim country) is also annoyed at RIM, the maker of Blackberry.

So what's the big deal? Blackberry communication is encrypted. Which means that the Saudi government cannot monitor what you and your friends are doing on your Blackberries. One article I read mentioned a Saudi blogger, who said he received a lot more comments from people using Blackberries, because they weren't afraid the government would arrest them. So there are freedom of speech issues here, except that Saudi Arabia doesn't have freedom of speech.

Another big deal is that the Blackberry is Western. And by that I mean the company that makes it (RIM) is Canadian, and the servers are in Canada, the US, and maybe Europe. And the Middle Eastern countries cannot believe that the US government isn't getting its hands on Blackberry information. So Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Indonesia, and India, all want the ability to read what people are saying on their Blackberries. In Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf States, the Internet is throttled and the government has complete access to what people are doing. They now want that same access on the Blackberry. Supposedly, RIM is now trying to work with Saudi Arabia on the situation. And see this article for a bit more information on how the Blackberry works.

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