Canada Joins RIM In Fight To Keep Blackberry Services Alive… And The US Cranks Up The Pressure Too….

Things appear to be getting interesting. According to The Globe And Mail, it looks like Canada is “going to bat” for RIM in their dispute with a growing list of countries who want the right to snoop on Blackberry traffic:

In Canada, International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said his government will also go to bat for Research In Motion Ltd., and is concerned about the free flow of communications, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

“Our government will be standing up for RIM as a Canadian company and the BlackBerry, as we always do stand up for Canadian companies doing business abroad when they run into these kind of challenges,” Mr. Van Loan told Dow Jones in an interview.

Not only that, but the US Sec. Of State is adding her voice to this:

“We are taking time to consult and analyze the full array of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there is also a legitimate right of free use and access,”

I don’t think that the countries that wanted this access, “or else,” bargained on this level of response. I’m thinking that these countries may just back down to avoid the negative press. Besides, it looks like people are figuring out how to avoid this censorship which would make these bans moot:

Some Saudi BlackBerry users, loath to give up the Messenger text messaging function, said they had started exchanging messages on the device on how to circumvent the ban right after the CITC announced it on Tuesday.

The messages gave tips on how to avoid using Saudi mobile operators as access points to the Messenger function by reconfiguring the device settings or by downloading new software.

That’s not a shock. When you try to censor people, those people try harder to avoid being censored. Perhaps it’s time for these countries to throw in the towel.

2 Responses to “Canada Joins RIM In Fight To Keep Blackberry Services Alive… And The US Cranks Up The Pressure Too….”

  1. Faisal Abbas Says:

    I agree with your comments about censorship. But I think this is not about censorship its about governments’ access to informaion.

    You seem to present that US and Canada are supporting RIM for free access to people, but both of these (US and Canada) have access to personal information. Rogers even has a clause in the service agreement, that Rogers has a ‘right’ to snoop customers’ communication and they actively do so. As far as my knowledge goes US government (Not sure about Canada) also snoops on peoples communications.

    Why should the rules be different for these countries!

    • Some thoughts:

      1. RIM has stated that they only have access to a limited amount of information as not even they can see what their subscribers can do. So even if they wanted to, in most cases they can’t comply with what these governments want.

      2. I’d love to see the clause that you’re referring to as Rogers (or any other telco) would be in a world of hurt if they do that in any malicious way. What I suspect the clause that you’re referring to says is that they have the right to hand that info over to law enforcement and/or they have the right to use that info to ensure that you aren’t violating their TOS.

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