Washington Post

UAE bans Blackberry services

The UAE announced yesterday that it will suspend BlackBerry Services to clients starting October 11th, citing security concerns. This includes BlackBerry messenger, e-mail, and web browsing services; there are an estimated 500,000 Blackberry users in UAE.

BlackBerry phones have very secure encryption technology. This presents a challenge for the UAE government, which cannot access information on remote servers. John Palfrey of Harvard Law School, commenting in a piece on the announcement in the Washington Post explains: “The long-range goal is to ensure they can control the information environment that their citizens are living in. This is a very simple story on one level: If you use a certain device, where some information is not stored locally, the worry is that they don’t know what is in that information and how they can get control of it.”

As Sarah Hamdi, writing for the OpenNet Initiative blog explains, this latest news follows a series of crackdowns on Blackberry users in UAE:

Consumer Watchdog Files Complaints Against Google Over Private Data Collection

Cecilia Kang from Post Tech at the The Washington Post writes that Google has deleted the private data the company inadvertently collected last week in Ireland off of unprotected, or unencrypted, Wi-Fi networks at homes, while compiling photos for its Street View Application location-based services. An independent third party corroborated the deletion. German officials blasted Google, saying the practice, even if in error, was illegal. Now, California-based Consumer Watchdog has filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking an investigation on how the practice affected consumers. According to Google, the company has been proactive by searching for other potential instances of the practice in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and selected European countries, places where Street View is in most widespread usage.