United Arab Emirates say BlackBerrys pose a security risk

“Who’s in charge of translations from the Gulf, today?”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said that it could move to restrict or monitor BlackBerry mobile phones, as they pose a “national security risk“.

The region’s telecoms regulator said “BlackBerry operates beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation” as it stores its data offshore. It said it was concerned that misuse may have “serious social, judicial and national security repercussions”…

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has taken issue with the encrypted networks used by Research in Motion (RIM) – the makers of the Blackberry handset…

“Currently, BlackBerry operates beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation, since it is the only device operating in the UAE that immediately exports its data offshore and is managed by a foreign, commercial organisation,” said a statement from the regulator.

“As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions.

“Like many other countries, we have been working for a long time to resolve these critical issues, with the objective of finding a solution that operates within the boundaries of UAE law.”

In other words – it ain’t especially easy for the government to keep an eye on folks using Blackberrys in the UAE.

There are interesting facets to any discussion of censorship. Is a government trying to maintain secrecy for political dealings, business dealings? After all, some governments own and deploy the most significant assets in their economy.

In some cases, governments are in the middle of changing from a state economy to something utilizing portions of market economics.

Some governments are run by fear-driven politicians who simply don’t trust democracy or the enfranchised electorate to support their wishes – and try to keep the truth from affecting their agitprop.

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