RIM has added India to the list of countries with which it's prepared to share data, and will help Kuwait block porn sites, but still hasn't opened its services up to the UAE. Indian security forces will be able to intercept emails sent and received by BlackBerry users, within 15 days, as Reuters reports the country has been …
I'm actually not sure that tapping, "legalised" access by law enforcement, et al. is necessairy to the extent that it was practiced even before you-know-which knee-jerk fest made it ubiquitous. Arrogance I mostly see in the attitude of law enforcement and politicians alike.
I would say it's time for a rethink if I wasn't certain it would, at this point in time, mean more surveillance with even less return per privacy breach, and not less. Looking at that return per privacy breach, however, convinces me that "legalised" wire tapping is of very little value to the current crop of law enforcement officers. Maybe with better officers, but then again they might not really need it either. I wouldn't mind if I knew I could trust all of them, but I know, from ample evidence, I can't. In this case, "some" or even "most" is Just Not Good Enough. In that respect it is time and past time for our fearless leaders and protectors to eat humble pie.
WRT your statement in the article "most of us accept that there are times when the security services need to intercept electronic communications", whilst I agree with you in principle in practice I don't trust any government especially ones in countries that have less scruples than others in scrutinising personal conversations.
A government like any collective exerts more control because they are afraid of the populace doing something they don't like; in effect they are worried they will be toppled. This example can be seen in totalitarian countries like Nth Korea/ Iran etc where the government are so afraid that their people will not do as the governments wants them they exert more control, (comedians banned in Iran, Free speech etc).
Therefore in summary yes countries like the UK are more interested in defending themselves and so whilst I may not be entirely happy that my communications can be intercepted I am assuaged somewhat by the fact that there are a number of groups that are allowed to provide checks and balances on those departments conducting interception of personal comms.
Kuwait, UAE etc don't have groups in government that provide those checks and balances nor do they separate church and state as such I will never trust those types of governments with access to my (or my company's for that matter!), personal comms.
Don't get me started on a government restricting images/videos of people having sex that is a major step back to the dark ages.
Checks and Balances in the UK
"there are a number of groups that are allowed to provide checks and balances on those departments conducting interception of personal comms"
There are remarkably few checks and balances in the UK. BT/Phorm, TalkTalk/Huawei, Google/Streetview, Experian/Hitwise are but a few examples of situations where communications are illegally intercepted on a huge scale, and no action at all is taken by the UK Government, or the Police, or supposedly 'independent' regulators like the ICO.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has rarely upheld a complaint against the police/Security Services (currently around 0.5% of around 900+ complaints). I think the running total is 4 (in ten years of IPT operation).
Sadly, the truth is the UK has (effectively) no effective checks and balances on illegal communications surveillance at all.
These groups provide all checks, nicely balanced... After all details just confuse matters!
For Organisations or Individuals that have been relying on encryption provided by RIM to protect their sensitive information from foreign (possibly* state sponsored) competitors in countries where snooping is permitted it makes good sense to use PGP or S/MIME to mitigate against this new development.
However when these same get back to Blighty they need to have ALL of the decryption keys in case of a request under RIPA...
* Who knows what could happen away from this haven of strongly defended civil liberties...?
Not illegal, usually...
The really funny thing about your post is that you claim that these intercepts are "illegal", yet in the majority of the cases you mentioned they are not against the law per se. You might WISH for them to be illegal, but that is rather different than saying they contravene existing laws, because at least several of what you named do not actually contravene laws, at least according to the courts.
But that is not the real issue with what you write, so I will spell it out: when you compare the gathering of personal usage data (for marketing) to the intercepting and reading of message content data, you do a terrible disservice to those in the world that suffer from repressive regimes that read their mail and censure their web use as a normal occurrence. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME, and to try and raise marketing data gathering to the same level as true censorship and citizen-level monitoring really cheapens the abuse that so many face from their own governments.
There is a huge difference between someone trying to serve you better advertisements, and someone trying to ensure that you only think in approved ways, and talk to approved people...
Dubai treats prisoners in a shocking way, without due process
I salute RIM/Blackberry for not caving in to the Saudi govermnent, where female victims of rape receive lashes.
India has satisified RIM that they are not crazy basket cases, like some countries. (David Cameron was spot on with is comments about Pakistan by the way)
WRT Kuwait and porn, that is just silly. But at least they can fap when they get home and log on to kuwaiti-hot-babez.com.
where are the servers ???
Im not entirely sure how it would work but dont blackberry provide a free blackberry server for small business's and i would prusome that traffic is also encrypted.
If blackberry allowed UAE to access their servers could one not just use ones own blackberry server ???
or does everything go through blackberrys servers first ??
Re: where are the servers ???
Blackberry's connect via the local mobile operator back to RIM (encrypted). At RIM, traffic can go either to the Internet (unencrypted) or back to the Blackberry Enterprise Server on a corporate network (encrypted). So - having a BES would not help, as the devices go to RIM first.
or does everything go through blackberrys servers first ??
How can RIM be secure if there over 100 Peeping Toms looking in?
RIM might be secure between RIM servers and their handsets but what of the legions of government Peeping Toms?
The ONLY positive thing coming out of all this publicity is that privacy is only possible when one party whispers in the other parties ear OR out at sea in a row-boat or standing in a isolated desert.
The only way is to use secure handsets, or handset software, on non-RIM units so when they are 'overheard' or tapped the add-on party just hears gibberish making sure secure comms are only used when really needed. Interlopers would be more inclined to blame scrambled signals to be bad signals.
And to those who say you can trust governments - remember CIA analysts who used satellite images to judge crop yields and adjust his stock investment plans accordingly? No one can be trusted.
The cheapest way to confuse interlopers is to use two pairs on handsets, on different cell systems, with opposing microphones muted so the calls are essentially two one-way, split frequency links. Works well. :)
"BlackBerry users enjoy unparalleled security in their email services, with email stored on RIM's servers and encrypted all the way to the handset. If you want to intercept mail you need access to the handset, or the servers, which is difficult when the former is in the hands of the user and the latter is in a different country."
Unless you happen to be the authorities in the countries where the relevant servers are located (e.g. srp.eu.blackberry.net, srp.es.blackberry.net, srp.na.blackberry.net, srp.cn.blackberry.net,....)
"most of us accept that..."
"...most of us accept that there are times when the security services need to intercept electronic communications. ..."
I don't. Not anymore. The only electronic communications that the 'authorities' can intercept are those between people not trying to hide and those who are technically inept. How many drug dealers have been busted because of intercepted emails? Not many. How many bomb plots were broken by judicious phone taps? Three or four? How many political scandels averted by knowing what the journalist was investigating? Probably more then we will ever find out. Where is the safety and security we were promised in return for giving up our rights?
What we actually got are cheating parents caught lying to try and get their child a better education. What we have is a society where the citizen is not assumed to be innocent, where they are no longer even assumed to be a citizen.
In the bad old days when terrorists/revolutionarys/freedom fighters used violence to get to the negotiating table, bad people ended up in jail because a court of their peers were convinced of their guilt by the evidence presented. Mistakes were made, some of them deliberate, but the basic assumption was that you were a citizen and had the rights and obligations associated with being a citizen. Do we now live in a society where you are assumed to be a threat?
"Do we now live in a society where you are assumed to be a threat?"
Have you read the papers here, or seen the laws we are trying to pass?
All adults are (potential) paedophiles and all men are (potential) rapists.
Other than that I agree with everything you wrote....
You don't reflect many peoples attitude
To whom I communicate with, at what time and the subject matter is strictly my business,
The American government is by the worst citizen spying offender, and through Echelon, the governments of Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand are not far behind.
Cell phones with GSM features were mandated by the U.S. FCC with remote activation; credit cards, travel reservation systems, wire-line exchanges with dial up 'tapping'; the same exchanges capture the first three sets of numbers dialled on any call - which means calling cards have no privacy; time-of-use utility metering; power consumption records; international money transfers - all reveal things about users.
But the laugh is on these governments because with all this expensive activity Bin Laden remains free! Totally ineffective.
"most of us accept that..."
If "most of us" do, "most of us" have been duped. Perhaps someone's been saying that if we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear? No government that hides any truth from its citizens can ever be trusted with any of its citizens' secrets, but at least there is some kind of framework of accountability, however flawed, for our security services. Not so for RIM.
RIM promises security, but it will betray its customers to the security services of the states it approves of at its own, unaccountable whim.
I'm glad I don't have a Blackberry; nothing I've read about this case encourages me to get one. On the other hand, I have decided to install the Android Privacy Guard, an OpenPGP implementation on my Android phone.
sorry, couldn't resist...
what is arrogant..
is the assumption that gov't should have the right to snoop into any and all communications. I for one don't accept this. I guess this is a reflection on you being british, brits seem to love surveillance. There's more than there should be in the US but at least we complain about it 8-) i vote against it too, the democrats and republicans both LOVE it, so i vote libertarian.
As for RIMs servers, they are i canada.
World War III
Come on World War III the religio-nazis are at it this time, it's time to deliver some serious payloads onto their ignorant arses; RIM too they're in on oppression.
I will never trust the government
And as for those how say the government needs access to catch all the terrorists etc. I say BS, As some famous person said something a long the lines of "Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither". What will happen is the government will use it to watch those who it deems unacceptable just like in the McCarthy period.
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