Report: RIM Allows Saudi Arabia to Monitor Users
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.