Opinion and Editorial

BlackBerry: Making the right call

Filed on August 3, 2010

What is more important? The security of a nation or the so called need for cutting edge global technology from a third party vendor?

One would have to be truly naïve to believe that there is even a shadow of doubt what the answer will be. No nation can allow itself to be held at ransom by any provider of a service that has the potential to be a lethal high tech weapon and compromise that nation’s integrity and its safety parameters.

In the case of BlackBerry what makes it even more disturbing is that the parent company is prepared to sign adequate protocols with countries like China but balks at the call to do the same with other nations.

We all understand that the information highway, like any highway, has its inherent dangers and can cause casualties. It is very much a fact that without adequate precautions a service like BlackBerry which is very sophisticated can be used to harm a nation’s confidential systems, compromise its people and put into jeopardy the nation’s interests as well as invade protected data and leach onto it. In many cases, criminal intent has been directly linked to the use of such services and there are no binding laws on either the provider nor accountability for misuse that carries into the realm of judicial and national spheres.

The question then is why such a global provider would function on different rules for different customers. If BlackBerry can agree to abide by the demands made from China why is India or the UAE or so many other nations being given short shrift. Surely, if a world living on the abyss and witnessing terrorism on a daily basis has to have a rule for safeguarding the interests of the government and the end user it should be worked out on an even playing field. Getting a proxy server or finding a backdoor entry is not the answer and should be discouraged for that does nothing but further put security into a bind. And the UAE is absolutely right in the stand it has taken.

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