Blackberry in trouble again, this time with India

Mike Halsey MVP
Aug 14, 2010
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Mobile Computing

Blackberry makers Research in Motion (RIM) are in trouble again, this time with India, after squabbles with the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over government access to its data servers.

All data that is sent and received on Blackberry's, wherever they are in the world, is processed by the company's servers in their home country of Canada.  This means that many countries, who want to monitor data for reasons of terrorism, security or obscenity, are unable to do so.

Now India has imposed a deadline of August 31st by which the company must allow government access to all of its services, or be be shut down in the country.  India is also considering similar bans on Skype and Google.

Only last week, RIM came to an agreement where they would set up local servers in Saudi Arabia.  India fears Blackberry's could be used by militants and insurgents.  The UAE, which was the first country to impose a block on the devices saying they posed a "national security risk".

So is this really about countries protecting their citizens or is there more to it than this?  To be honest it's probably just that countries have become increasingly heavy-handed in the last ten years about security.  Questions may now need to be asked if opening these services up to so many governments is a violation of international personal privacy laws.

For now this is an argument that's simply not going away, certainly not for RIM of the millions of Blackberry users in the middle-east.


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  1. minanath said on August 17, 2010 at 7:41 am
  2. Bob Smith said on August 16, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Funny it said one the news that some officials were bribed and let some people in…aajtak news…novem…

  3. abrahavt said on August 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Although the details are not revealed, RIM has agreements with the US and other western governments about access to their servers. That is all India and all these other Governments are asking for. For countries like India that don’t have the sophisticated monitoring and tracking systems prevalent in the west it is imperative that they shut down as many loop holes as possible. During the Mumbai killing spree where 173 people were killed and 308 wounded the Indian Govt had a hard time intercepting the communications of the terrorists with their handlers in Pakistan because of the encryption being used.

  4. Wired said on August 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I really wonder why cant Blackberry provide the log access to these countries and solve the problem for good… Just provide them with the log activity taking place which includes the txt msgs emails or whatever they want…

  5. Dean said on August 15, 2010 at 2:36 am

    And like “terrorists” or anyone else for that matter don’t have other ways of communicating “covertly”. It gets me that governments are getting shirty over this – it’s not about terrorism; it’s about keeping an eye on the populous in general.

    If terrorists want to communicate covertly I suspect they’ll do more than use a BB to send stuff such as “Bomb target X at time Y agent Z”.


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