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  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    FYI!

    Take care,

    Jay

    BlackBerry Maker Resists Governments’ Pressure
    By JENNA WORTHAM, August 3, 2010

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/te...gewanted=print

    A top executive of Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes BlackBerry smartphones, said on Tuesday that his company would not give in to pressure from foreign governments to provide access to its customers’ messages.

    That pressure increased on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia ordered local cellphone providers to halt BlackBerry service, saying it failed to meet the country’s regulatory requirements.

    Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-chief executive of R.I.M, said in an interview that allowing governments to monitor messages shuttling across the BlackBerry network could endanger the company’s relationships with its customers, which include major companies and law enforcement agencies.

    “We’re not going to compromise that,” Mr. Lazaridis said. “That’s what’s made BlackBerry the No. 1 solution worldwide.”

    Similarly, the United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday that it would block BlackBerry e-mail and text-messaging services beginning in October.

    Several governments have cited national security concerns in demanding that R.I.M. open up its system. Like the Emirates, Saudi Arabia has expressed concern about BlackBerry’s highly encrypted data service, which makes it difficult to monitor communications.

    The suspension in Saudi Arabia is to take effect this month, according to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency.

    Mr. Lazaridis denied reports that the company had already granted special concessions to the governments of countries like India and China, which have large numbers of BlackBerry owners.

    “That’s absolutely ridiculous and patently false,” he said.

    Mr. Lazaridis said the encryption that was causing alarm among foreign governments was used for many other purposes, including e-commerce transactions, teleconferencing and electronic money transfers.

    “If you were to ban strong encryption, you would shut down corporations, business, commerce, banking and the Internet,” he said. “Effectively, you’d shut it all down. That’s not likely going to happen.”

    Mr. Lazaridis expressed sympathy for the concerns of the Persian Gulf nations. “I am very empathetic to their concerns and what they go through,” Mr. Lazaridis said. “But every country goes through these things. We have to be prepared for the ramifications of the decisions we make.”

    R.I.M. issued a statement Tuesday that was intended to reassure customers, saying that “customers of the BlackBerry enterprise solution can maintain confidence in the integrity of the security architecture without fear of compromise.”

    Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said the statement appeared to address only the products that the company sold to corporate customers, not those it sells directly to consumers.

    Corporate customers tend to be of less concern to governments, he said, because criminals or terrorists are less likely to engage in illegal activities from corporate e-mail systems, and because governments can go directly to those corporations to obtain employees’ information.

    “This doesn’t put the main question to rest,” Professor Zittrain said. “It doesn’t explain under what circumstances would the average BlackBerry user have his communications exposed.”

    A spokeswoman for R.I.M. said the company would not elaborate on its statement.

    Mr. Lazaridis spoke after a press conference in Manhattan at which executives from AT&T and R.I.M. introduced the BlackBerry Torch 9800, the company’s first phone with both a touch screen and a slide-out keyboard.

    The Torch, which costs $199 with a two-year data plan, will be sold exclusively for AT&T’s network beginning Aug. 12. It has a 5-megapixel camera with a flash and runs a new version of R.I.M.’s mobile operating system called BlackBerry 6.

    Don Lindsay, vice president for user experience at R.I.M., pointed out the phone’s new software features, which include a redesigned home screen, improved support for multimedia and applications and a better Web browser.

    “It’s not about bringing something new to BlackBerry but improving what we do best,” he said.

    Research In Motion has a lot riding on the release of the Torch. The company has been losing market share and mindshare to Apple and Google as more users clamor for the iPhone and smartphones powered by Android, Google’s mobile operating system. For R.I.M., this competition has increased the importance of markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

    A report released on Monday by Nielsen said sales of R.I.M. devices to new subscribers in the United States were slowing, and that 29 percent of BlackBerry users had considered switching to the iPhone.

    Another report from the research firm Canalys said that in the second quarter, Android sales were up nearly 900 percent from a year ago, claiming 34 percent of the market in the United States. By comparison, Research In Motion had 32 percent, and Apple staked out 21.7 percent of the market. A year ago, R.I.M.’s share was 45 percent.


    Robert F. Worth and Miguel Helft contributed reporting.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2.    #2  
    Hi all,

    FYI!

    Take care,

    Jay

    Saudi Regulator Says Blackberry Ban Begins Friday
    By REUTERS, August 3, 2010, Filed at 6:02 p.m. ET

    http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/...gewanted=print

    RIYADH (Reuters) - The Saudi telecom watchdog said on Tuesday that telecom companies in the kingdom must block an unspecified Blackberry service as of Friday.

    The ban would last until the kingdom's three mobile phone operators "fulfill the regulatory requirements it has requested," the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said in a statement to media.

    "CITC has asked ... Saudi Telecom Co, Mobily and Zain Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the Blackberry service for businesses and individuals in the kingdom starting Aug, 6," it said.

    It did not elaborate on the nature of these requirements.

    Industry sources told Reuters on Sunday that CITC has notified them of its intention to ban the Blackberry Messenger function this month, due to mainly to security concerns.

    The United Arab Emirates threatened on Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless its maker, Research in Motion, gives it access to encrypted messages. India's Economic Times reported that RIM will allow Indian security authorities to monitor BlackBerry services.

    (Reporting by Souhail Karam. Editing by Robert MacMillan)
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  3. #3  
    Thanks Jay, interesting read.
    Sprint|Samsung Epic
  4.    #4  
    Hi all,

    Here is more info.....
    Take care,

    Jay

    Saudi And RIM In Last - Ditch Talks
    By REUTERS, August 4, 2010, Filed at 9:28 a.m. ET

    http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/...gewanted=print

    RIYADH/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The makers of the BlackBerry smartphone held last-ditch talks with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to avert a threatened cut-off of a key service, while India took a tough line with the Canadian company.

    Research In Motion is facing mounting demands from governments around the world for access to its vaunted encryption system on national security grounds.

    The spat, which has highlighted the access some states seem to have in comparison to others, threatens to cut off some 2 million BlackBerry users in the Gulf and India.

    Security officials in India, a giant growth market for mobile communications, warned the service would be halted if the company failed to meet its concerns, a newspaper reported.

    "We are very clear that any BlackBerry service that cannot be fully intercepted by our agencies must be discontinued," The Economic Times quoted an unnamed security official as saying.

    "Offering access to data is part of the telecom licensing guidelines and has to be adhered to."

    An Indian government source told Reuters that RIM had proposed to share some details of its BlackBerry services but security agencies were demanding full access to a messaging service it fears could be misused by militants.

    RIM has said BlackBerry security is based on a system where customers create their own key and the company neither has a master key nor any "back door" to enable RIM or any third party to gain access to crucial corporate data.

    The company said on Wednesday it has never provided anything unique to the government of one country and cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key.

    The Saudi telecoms regulator met senior RIM officials ahead of a Friday deadline to cut BlackBerry Messenger text messaging service on August 6 in the kingdom, the world's biggest oil exporter.

    "(The ban) is only for the Messenger. Negotiations are still going on, the deadline is final," said Sultan al-Malik from the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).

    CITC said on Tuesday it had informed the kingdom's three mobile operators of the ban.

    "The instructions for this ban are coming from high up, it's not like any decision that has been issued by CITC before. They will have to stop it, period," said another CITC official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    RIM officials Frenny Bawa and Khaled Kefel are in the talks which also include technical and regulatory experts from Saudi Arabia's three mobile telecoms firms, a source at one of the telecoms firms told Reuters.

    "The talks are still ongoing," the source said. The cut-off threat has hit shares of Saudi telecoms providers Etihad Etisalat, Saudi Telecom Co and Zain Saudi Arabia, as well as RIM's own stock price.

    ACCESS DISPUTED

    The United Arab Emirates, which plans a ban on BlackBerry Messenger, email and web browser services from October, said RIM is flouting its regulations. It maintains the planned suspension follows three years of discussions with the company.

    The UAE regulator plans no furthers talks with RIM and has told the company to comply by October or be cut off.

    The UAE says it does not have the same kind of surveillance rights to BlackBerry messages as officials in the United States.

    Security experts say that many governments enjoy the ability to monitor BlackBerry conversations as they do communications involving most types of mobile devices.

    "The ability to tap communications is a part of surveillance and intelligence and law enforcement all over the world," said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

    RIM is in an unusual position of having to deal with government requests to monitor its clients because it is the only smartphone maker which manages the traffic of messages sent using its equipment.

    RIM Chief Technology Officer David Yach told Reuters on Tuesday he believed governments were unlikely to follow through on their threats because state officials themselves depended heavily on the BlackBerry.

    "I believe they'll have trouble pulling the trigger to shut down BlackBerry. Most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry."

    The Dubai launch of the new BlackBerry Torch handset planned for Wednesday at the exclusive Armani hotel in Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, was postponed.

    "It will not be taking place. It was postponed due to the current attention in the media," a hotel employee told Reuters.

    Russian security concerns held up import of the BlackBerry for years. The state security service FSB was concerned that RIM's strong encryption software, and the presence of servers outside Russia, contravened anti-terrorist laws and limited its ability of monitoring traffic.

    In November 2007, the FSB finally granted permission to Vimpelcom and MTS to start shipping BlackBerrys on condition that the servers be installed in Russia.

    According to a source with one of the companies, Russian operators still have to secure FSB permission before they can introduce each new BlackBerry service.

    The European Commission said it rejected the BlackBerry in favor of Apple's iPhone and HTC smartphones during a 2008 review against certain criteria, including security and cost.

    (Additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow, Jim Finkle in Boston, Tamara Walid in Dubai, Georgina Prodhan in Helsinki; Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Jason Neely and Paul Taylor)
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  5.    #5  
    Saudi reaches deal on BlackBerry, avoiding ban

    By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI
    The Associated Press
    Saturday, August 7, 2010; 11:01 AM

    Saudi reaches deal on BlackBerry, avoiding ban

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia and the makers of the BlackBerry have reached a preliminary deal on granting access to users' data that will avert a ban on the phone's messenger service in the kingdom, Saudi officials said Saturday.

    The agreement would likely involve placing a BlackBerry server inside Saudi Arabia to allow the government to monitor messages and allay official fears the service could be used for criminal purposes, the telecom regulatory officials said.

    Bandar al-Mohammed, an official at the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission, told The Associated Press that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. has expressed its "intention ... to place a server inside Saudi Arabia."

    That will guarantee the kingdom's ability to see communications and data exchanged on BlackBerry handsets, he said. Al-Mohammed said talks were ongoing and declined to provide more details pending an announcement, which he said was expected soon.

    The deal could have wide-ranging implications for several other countries, including India and the United Arab Emirates, which have expressed similar concerns over how BlackBerry maker RIM handles data.

    Saudi security officials fear the service could be used by militant groups to avoid detection. The kingdom has been waging a crackdown for years against al-Qaida-linked extremists. The kingdom also enforces heavy policing of the Internet, blocking sites both for political content and for obscenities.

    "Whatever Saudi Arabia does will be followed by other countries in the region," said John Sfakianakis, a BlackBerry user who is chief economist at the Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group.

    "RIM is quite smart. They're seeing this is a very lucrative market. They don't want to take themselves out of this market," he added.

    A second Saudi regulatory official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the details of the deal, said tests were now under way to determine how to install a BlackBerry server inside the country.

    RIM representatives did not immediately return messages seeking confirmation.

    The Canadian company issued a statement last Tuesday denying it has given some governments access to BlackBerry data.

    RIM says its technology does not allow it, or any third party, to read encrypted e-mails sent by corporate BlackBerry users. The consumer version has a lower level of security.

    Canadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed Friday that Canadian officials were in talks with RIM and Saudi officials to try to avoid the ban.

    The kingdom is one of a number of countries expressing concern that the device is a security threat because encrypted information sent on the phones is routed through overseas computers - making it difficult, it not impossible, for local governments to monitor.

    Critics, however, maintain that Saudi Arabia and other countries are also motivated by the desire to further curb freedom of expression and strengthen already tight controls over the media.

    The United Arab Emirates has announced it will ban BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing starting in October, and Indonesia and India are also demanding greater control over the data.

    Analysts say RIM's expansion into fast-growing emerging markets is threatening to set off a wave of regulatory challenges, as its commitment to keep corporate e-mails secure rubs up against the desires of local law enforcement.

    Saudi Arabia's telecommunications regulator, known as the Communications and Information Technology Commission, announced plans for the ban on Tuesday, saying the BlackBerry messenger service "in its present state does not meet regulatory requirements," according to the state news agency SPA. It had been due to be shut off Friday.

    Sfakianakis, the Saudi-based banker, uses three BlackBerrys operated by different telecom companies. He said access to messaging, e-mails and the Web was interrupted for a brief period early Friday but was quickly restored. No reason was given for the interruption.

    BlackBerry phones are popular both among businesspeople and youth in the kingdom who see the phones' relatively secure communication features as a way to avoid attention from the authorities. Local media estimate there are some 750,000 BlackBerry users in the country.

    "Over the past year and a half, its market presence has increased tremendously," Sfakianakis said, describing the devices as "a must" for doing business in Saudi Arabia.

    ---

    Associated Press writers Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  6. #6  
    That's just atrocious.
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by nappy View Post
    That's just atrocious.
    Yes it sure is!

    take care,

    Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  8. #8  
    There go any chances for BB getting my dollars. As much as I like the torch design and the corporate aspect, as I am becoming a member of the workforce, this is a dealbreaker. Should this be enfoced, a precedent for every other country in the world will be created.

    Any phones out there already running Pidgin with OTR plugin?
    'til we meet again.
    THL
  9. tirk's Avatar
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    #9  
    A quote from an earlier battle: "if they ban encryption, only criminals will have privacy". Sad.
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