Dubai Claims U.S. and Israel Use BlackBerry to Spy

New information is coming out on why the United Arab Emirates is pushing for a ban of BlackBerrys until it gains access to encrypted information on the devices. Dubai’s chief of police—Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim—is trying to pull Israel and the United States into the mess by claiming that both countries use BlackBerrys for espionage purposes. He also has stated that the pending BlackBerry ban should also stop the “defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance.” Starting to show our true colors here are we UAE?

The remarks—which hinted at claims that the US and Israel can secretly monitor BlackBerry traffic in the UAE—are seen as in line with what senior UAE leadership wants. It is a well known fact that BlackBerrys not running through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) are vulnerable to highly skilled hackers so why would the UAE even care? Nothing is stopping them from hacking the system themselves. I am most disturbed by the “defamation” claims, as defamation tends to be defined as anything critical in far too many countries around the world and punished extremely harshly.

The way RIM handles all of these requests for private user information will shape future requests by other governments for other services. India, Saudi Arabia and other countries are threatening to ban BlackBerrys or at least hinting at future threats. Google and Skype are also coming under attack in India.

The future of privacy across the world is in a tumultuous time right now. RIM is stuck in the unfortunate position of losing valuable markets or succumbing to demands. I certainly would not want to be in their shoes right now.

Can RIM do anything right now besides just try to work out some agreements and give up one of its key features? Will any deals RIM comes to form the basis for future agreements of other multinational companies? Hopefully, these problems can be sorted out since they are taking a hit on RIM’s stock price right now when the company is already struggling to regain its slowing sales numbers.

Let me know if you have an opinion.

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