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BlackBerry Faces UAE Ban Over Encryption

August 10, 2010

This is an interesting story of technology that transcends national boundaries.  BlackBerry, the popular smartphone and email device routes all the traffic via an encrypted connection and via it’s parent company, Research in Motion’s servers in Canada.  What this means is that if you wish to monitor the traffic you need to break the encryption.  Why have the encryption at all?  because email is notoriously open – think of it as a postcard – it’s easy to read what’s being said.  So if you’re going to be doing business over email it makes sense to encrypt it.  However the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is not happy about the security arrangements at all..

Unlike other mobile devices, BlackBerry mobile phones access the internet and email through RIM’s own network of secure Network Operations Centres around the world using specialist encryption. Any mobile phone company operating the devices must connect to this proprietary system. As a result, BlackBerry devices are more secure and more network capacity efficient than other so-called smartphones. But the fact that data is leaving the jurisdiction of national courts has worried some governments who fear they may not be able to monitor the communications of terrorists and other criminals, even for reasons of national security.

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