08-11-2010, 05:44 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
RIM to hand over security codes to Saudis
Quote:RIM has agreed to provide authorities in Saudi Arabia with security codes that will enable them to read encrypted text messages on the BlackBerry Messenger service.
A Reuters report cited an unnamed source present at the ongoing discussions between RIM and the Saudi authorities as the basis for the claims, which represent an about-face by the BlackBerry maker.
RIM had offered to install a server in Saudi Arabia through which all traffic would be sent, allowing the authorities to monitor the communications.
However, the report claims that this has proved unworkable, and that codes will be handed over to allow the monitoring of all conversations between BlackBerry Messenger users in the country.
RIM told V3.co.uk that it had no comment on the matter, but the move would represent a change in policy by the firm, which last week strenuously denied that it could provide such information to third parties.
"The BlackBerry enterprise solution was designed to preclude RIM, or any third party, from reading encrypted information under any circumstances, since RIM does not store or have access to the encrypted data," the company said last week.
"RIM cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party, ever possess a copy of the key."
Tim Renowden, an analyst at Ovum, believes that the move represents a loss of face for RIM after its earlier claims, and could affect the popularity of BlackBerry devices.
"Previously, RIM put security as one of its key selling points for businesses and consumers, but this move puts it in a difficult position, especially with further concerns in the United Arab Emirates and India, " he said.
"Firms around the world are starting to be picked up by governments in some countries on issues like this, such as Google in China, and it could be that RIM was already in negotiations in Saudi Arabia before the news became public."
However, Renowden added that the continued coverage of the saga had provided RIM with some free publicity as to the effectiveness of its encrypted network.
Saudi authorities said yesterday that they will allow the continued use of the Messenger service as they are happy so far with the efforts RIM had made.
The Saudi Communications and Technology Commission confirmed that it " permits the continuation of BlackBerry Messenger services in addition to the continuation of joint work with service providers to fulfil the remaining requirements".
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