The problems faced by RIM’s Blackberry in UAE and South-East Asia over the last few weeks may be coming to an end soon. Supposedly, RIM has agreed to provide reasonable access to user data to governments who demanded it. Isn’t this is direct contradiction to RIM’s promise of complete encryption and security to users? Yes, it certainly is.
A source within RIM has recently stated on the basis of anonymity that RIM has agreed to provide the Saudi Arabian government access to RIM resources, which would basically allow them to snoop on any BlackBerry device in the country.
The source (who works at a high enough level to be present in all meetings between RIM and the government) has also said that this is actually what has been praised as a ‘positive development’ by the Saudi government in the media.
This comes a body blow to RIM’s trustworthiness particularly because it has so far assured its user’s that privacy is their foremost concern. Moreover RIM had also stated that it would not provide to one government what it has not provided to any government in any country. All that collapses in a heap if the news is true.
Its been revealed that in order to address some of the security concerns voiced by the governments of Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, RIM had proposed to move the local servers within the borders of the countries.
This raises the bigger question here — Is RIM going to sacrifice its privacy pledge for the sake of not losing out thousands of customers in these countries? After all, these countries were planning to ban BlackBerry services if RIM did not yield to their demands.
This is why perhaps RIM has been forced to take a calculated risk. It will lose a portion of its user base, which will not take kindly to the handshake between RIM and the authorities. After all business users value security and privacy, and BlackBerry users include the elite business class.
Also, this may mean that RIM will provide data access to all governments who demand it, in the not too distant future.