Saudi gov’t wants BlackBerry messenger cracked open for “security” reasons. Will RIM budge?

by Mike
Posted March 8th, 2010 at 8:38 am
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Terrorists and normal civillians residing in Saudi Arabia have something new to worry about this week — security in regards to BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry handhelds overall. It’s no secret that RIM has an amazingly secure platform and network with the BlackBerry. Sadly, the bad guys have realized this too and have made heavy use of the encrypted and untouchable platform, angering many governments around the globe. The Saudi gov’t has had enough however and is calling on RIM to let them have full access as to properly track and arrest terrorits and other criminals.

This reasoning of “security” seems noble and honest. And on many levels, it would extremely helpful (if not at least providing some peace of mind) to break down another aspect of terrorists lives. But at what cost? The privacy of millions of Saudi’s and potentially the entire world is at stake. What starts as a security/anti-terrorism movement can easily be turned into a Big Brother from hell landscape whenever the government sees it fit to pry into every corner of our lives. However RIM and the Saudi gov’t react will set a precedent for the entire world for if one gov’t can gain VIP access to the BB network, others will follow.

As is the same in many other areas of security and gov’t, at some point, the “added security or safety” is greatly outweighed by the freedoms and privacy taken away. I for one hope RIM doesn’t back down. If the Saudi gov’t then decides to ban BlackBerry sales because terrorists use them, so be it. That’s just the way it is. I just hope by the time my kids have kids that there is still some form of “privacy” on this planet.

Should the Saudi gov’t be given “behind-the-scenes” access to RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger to help fight terrorism or are the added security holes and potential issues further down the line too detremimental to basic privacy? Are the benefits and real world results going to be outweighed by the cons?

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