According the L.A. Times, the bastions of freedom and defacto U.S. protectorates known as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have decided to block BlackBerry services that rudely encrypt communications which prevents government eavesdropping.
Clearly, in the wake of post 9/11 anything-goes anti-terrorism laws, most of the U.S. population seems to be ready to trade their privacy for a promise of security. Even technical publications like ZDnet are amazingly compliant when faced with this fear mongering. There seems to be a mad rush to piss away civil liberties as if we weren’t really using them anyway. Privacy is view as only needed by people who have something to hide.
In any case, I’m pretty certain that the U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t simply going to roll over and be excluded from monitoring what you say. Whether we ever get to know it or not, they will be able to monitor your communications whether it be by BlackBerry or anything else. In the past, American companies have shown an unquestioning willingness to cooperate with the Federal government in violating Constitutional protection, but there’s no way of knowing whether that carries over to companies operating in allied countries. Give the importance of the U.S. Markets, I suspect it would be a rare company indeed that didn’t cave to U.S. demands.
It will be interesting to see if and how quicklly BlackBerry creator, Research in Motion, strikes a deal to enable the governments of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and any number of other countries to look over the shoulder of everyone using one of their devices.
At least they aren’t justifying it with the claim of protecting children from porn.