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Report: RIM Allows Saudi Arabia to Monitor Users

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 24 comments

Saudi Arabia and RIM have reportedly come to an agreement that allows the former to monitor messages being sent by Saudi Arabians via BlackBerry Messenger.

Saudi Arabia made headlines last week when it announced that it would be banning BlackBerrys nationwide from Friday, August 6. However, Friday came and went with nothing but a couple of minor interruptions to services. Saudi Arabia then said that it was working with RIM towards a solution; all data would be passed through a Saudia Arabian servers before continuing on to RIM's own Canada-based servers.

However, it would seem this proved too impractical, and now RIM has supposedly agreed to hand over encryption codes to the Saudi Arabians. Reuters cites a source that says RIM will share the unique pin number and code for each BlackBerry registered in Saudi Arabia, allowing authorities to read encrypted text sent via BlackBerry Messenger. The source told Reuters that this arrangement effectively gives Saudi Arabia access to RIM's main server for Messenger, but only for communications to and from Saudi Arabians.

The Saudi Arabian telecoms regulator did not confirm if an agreement had been reached with RIM, but highlighted that positive developments had led to progress.

"In light of the positive developments in completing part of the regulatory requirements from the service providers, the regulatory authority has decided to allow the continuation of the BlackBerry Messenger services," the regulator said.

No word on whether or not the United Arab Emirates will follow through with its threat to ban BlackBerrys if RIM does not allow it access to encrypted messages by October.

Source: Reuters

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , August 12, 2010 12:49 AM
    so much for the RIM privacy myth...
    mavanhelThis is dangerous. First one country, then them all. I hope Canada/US won't try to ban Blackberry because of the ecryption.


    don't worry, they already have them codes.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    mikem_90 , August 12, 2010 12:05 AM
    Look, they're trying to be just like the USA! How cute!
  • 1 Hide
    Parsian , August 12, 2010 12:10 AM
    mikem_90Look, they're trying to be just like the USA! How cute!


    Well Saudi's are US puppet what do you expect?
  • Display all 24 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , August 12, 2010 12:14 AM
    wow !!!!!!
    i cant believe this government doesn't usually dictate to big business
    but i guess in this case this government is big business (oil)
  • 1 Hide
    mavanhel , August 12, 2010 12:14 AM
    This is dangerous. First one country, then them all. I hope Canada/US won't try to ban Blackberry because of the ecryption.
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , August 12, 2010 12:49 AM
    so much for the RIM privacy myth...
    mavanhelThis is dangerous. First one country, then them all. I hope Canada/US won't try to ban Blackberry because of the ecryption.


    don't worry, they already have them codes.
  • -1 Hide
    bardia , August 12, 2010 12:58 AM
    I LOL at the people comparing this to the Patriot Act international calls/messenger provision.
  • 5 Hide
    WR , August 12, 2010 1:58 AM
    What an about-face, seeing as RIM claimed not to have the encryption keys to snoop on subscribers' messages...
  • -1 Hide
    stingstang , August 12, 2010 3:15 AM
    Those silly middle-easterners are all the same. So much talk, and so little action. That's why whenever they actually DO something, it's such a surprise.
  • 0 Hide
    Marco925 , August 12, 2010 3:42 AM
    RIM! i thought you were going to stand up to these dictatorships! Shame!
  • -1 Hide
    climber , August 12, 2010 3:45 AM
    So much for privacy and secure wireless smartphones. Yes let's make everything completely insecure like an open OS, I hear Android has it's first baby malware, congrats all around. And the thing about iPhones not having pron? Check out the "AFF" app on the apps store.... yeah Various Inc, i.e. Penthouse Media Group, Playboy's competitor, owner of over 25 adult sites now has direct iphone, iPod access.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmez , August 12, 2010 3:56 AM
    Hooray for RIM for bending over and taken a corporate cock shafting.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 12, 2010 4:03 AM
    My feelings are mixed for this. On one hand I'm happy that the two were able to work out a solution, but on the other hand it sets a dangerous precedent. Now other governments will know that RIM will cave in to protect their interests.
  • 1 Hide
    rcmaniac25 , August 12, 2010 4:21 AM
    From what I remember reading about the BlackBerry networking system, RIM's statement still stands. There aren't any "codes", there are public and private servers. RIM can't get to the private (businesses/BES) servers but they do have the public servers and those are usually per-carrier (they said that each telecom in Saudi Arabia is testing a server and that three servers were given out, there are three telecoms in Saudi Arabia so it fits). RIM has given public servers to other telecom providers around the world so since Saudi Arabia (and most likely followed by other countries) agreed that they wanted the public data if anything they wanted the public servers. I still don't like it, I would rather no one have access to the servers but somehow the key needs to be known on both ends so someone has to control it. Now as long as they can't snoop on what I am doing since I am not in their country (as if my country doesn't do it themselves).
  • 0 Hide
    jsc , August 12, 2010 6:31 AM
    I am not surprised. I work in Saudi Arabia, and I have a company owned Blackberry.

    Having round-the-clock access to company email is really convenient. But because RIM has caved in to the Arabs, they will find it impossible to resist the demands from any other country.
  • 3 Hide
    irh_1974 , August 12, 2010 10:02 AM
    ParsianWell Saudi's are US puppet what do you expect?

    Not for long, SA owns over 11% of the USA's material wealth and the figure is climbing.
    Here's how it works.
    The USA gives money to the Arabs for oil.
    The Arabs pour the money back to the USA to buy shares, equity, bonds, etc.
    The USA takes the oil and burns it.

    It's like buying milk & bread with the deeds for your house.
  • 0 Hide
    irh_1974 , August 12, 2010 12:09 PM
    On a lighter note - owners of Blackberrys who find Government intrusion on their porn-surfing habits will go back to the old tried & trusted method of putting their phone-porn on their SD memory cards.
  • 1 Hide
    figgus , August 12, 2010 1:13 PM
    Like terrorists were sending "lol blow up the embassy, k gaiz?" messages on their device. Odds are, it was all passphrases meant to sound innocuous anyway. "Hey, lets have dinner Friday at that big building up the street!" and whatnot.
  • 0 Hide
    tommysch , August 12, 2010 1:33 PM
    irh_1974Not for long, SA owns over 11% of the USA's material wealth and the figure is climbing.Here's how it works.The USA gives money to the Arabs for oil.The Arabs pour the money back to the USA to buy shares, equity, bonds, etc.The USA takes the oil and burns it.It's like buying milk & bread with the deeds for your house.


    Thats why SA should be an oil producing colony and nothing more.
  • 5 Hide
    tommysch , August 12, 2010 1:35 PM
    figgusLike terrorists were sending "lol blow up the embassy, k gaiz?" messages on their device. Odds are, it was all passphrases meant to sound innocuous anyway. "Hey, lets have dinner Friday at that big building up the street!" and whatnot.


    Terrorism is and will always be just an excuse to spy on your ass.
  • 0 Hide
    irh_1974 , August 12, 2010 3:28 PM
    TommySchThats why SA should be an oil producing colony and nothing more.

    Not sure how you're gonna do that, that would involve not paying them for it somehow, I'm not sure they would give it up without a fight.

    But hey, seems to be a cakewalk over in Iraq, so why the hell not!
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