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back to article BlackBerry bows to Saudi Arabia

RIM is to locate three servers within Saudi Arabia, putting them under the jurisdiction of local security forces and thus removing the necessity of the planned ban. That ban did come into effect briefly, with BlackBerry users in Saudi finding themselves bereft of email for several hours while a deal was put together. Now the …

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Very sad

What a shame; Saudi Arabia called RIM's bluff. Now RIM and bending over, with an 'enter here' sign. After all that fuss!

Remember Saudi Arabia is a country that sentences female VICTIMS of rape, to be flogged. That is fucked up beyond belief. I wish that RIM had taken the courage to tell the Saudis to get lost.

Is this now going to snowball? Are other regimes/goverments now going to say 'oh we want that too'.

Shame on you, RIM.

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Black Helicopters

Us too

HM Gov will also join in too. Despite the change of regime the instinct to control is still very evident.

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FAIL

re: Us Too

RIM already have a UK based NOC....

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Paris Hilton

Concern with over-all security implications

My biggest issue here is that RIM is going to allow a foreign government access to its "local" servers. At least, that is how I read this. I doubt that the Saudi government will ask RIM to pull information for them, or that it will trust in RIM giving up all of the intercepts, and demand access to the machines itself.

Once inside these servers it would almost necessarily be inside the proprietary firewall which, given proper lax security on the inside of proprietary networks or the motivated local hacker, could allow access to parts, if not the rest, of RIM's network. Once inside, it is possible, though perhaps highly unlikely, that the Saudi government could tap into the communications of other governments which are so highly entrenched in the RIM network.

Sure, a couple of "what-ifs," "maybes," and a hypothetical or two, but is that not the nexus of security?

Paris, the antithesis of security.

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Boffin

Regional lockout

I'm betting that the Saudi Arabia RIM NOC will be mostly separated from the rest of RIM's network. The only traffic I'd expect to flow between the RIM 'secure' network and the Saudi 'not-so-secure' network would be PIN messages between users of the different networks.

At least, that is what I hope for. And it might be what will happen; I doubt the US Gov would like their own users being snooped on.

Interesting Note: SSL/TLS can be snooped on BIS users... unless they tweak an interesting option on their berries. SSL/TLS is offloaded by default to the BIS servers ... but there's one setting that can change that. ;)

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Bronze badge

Obvious solution

This was always the obvious solution - giving other countries what the USA and many others already have: servers in their own country and under their jurisdiction.

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FAIL

Last line is the key

"And the general population of course". One of the main points of surveillance apparatus is to keep the rabble under their masters' thumb, in effect to make citezens feel so afraid of the possibility of being intercepted that they're very careful what they say. This supposedly prevents "thoughtcrime" and helps prop up the evil regime.

Yes it also catches out incompetent terrorists, but incompetent terrorists can be caught out other ways and competent ones can't be caught this way. And of course Blackberry has just shown, as Google in China before it, the interests of their customers and us common mortals always comes last. For corporations the profit motive always comes first, for government organisations, acquiring and keeping power is what matters, and the 2 very often coincide, often if not always to the detriment of the citizen-consumer.

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Anonymous Coward

Its abt the oil, stupid !

DIdn't someone mention this before? Cant afford to annoy USA whose oil would stop if it didnt lean on RIM.

C'mon RIM, show some guts.Canada doesnt need Saudi oil. If not this request will snowball surley.

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Re: Terrorists getting through

SA isn't trying to prevent terrorists from communicating with this - they're trying to prevent boys from talking to girls.

On the one hand, as someone who may be dragged (kicking and screaming) into SA to do business, I'm glad I'll actually be able to communicate if and when I get there.

On the other hand, every time a company like RIM capitulates to this kind of demand, they make it harder and harder for anyone else to stand up to the kind of wretched, wicked tyranny that reminds us exactly how much better we have it in the west - security cameras, patriot act, or not.

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Stop

but why if...

someone has his own BES or BES Express does it have to be in Saudi, what's to stop him having the server somewhere in the world outside Saudi legal reach? Or is this the definition of a competent terrorist?

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Paris Hilton

It still goes through RIM's network

Even if you run your own B*S server, all the communications still run through RIM's network. That not withstanding, the end-points are still vulnerable, which is what these three servers run.

Paris, a vulnerable end-point.

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Grenade

terrorists ?

Why would Saudi Arabia need to bug terrorists, after oil they are the country's main export industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Where did my security go?

Does RIM guarantee that my data will not be sent to countries like this.

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Anonymous Coward

Can someone refresh my memory?

I believe I heard somewhere that although there is a private key for a BES server, each device has both a matching key plus a global key, and that all email is *sent* with the global key rather than the institute specific key? And as a result, technically all BBs can read any email sent from any other BB with minimal fuss... Which surely negates all need for local servers anyways? Which of course makes me think there are other reasons that SA and UAE et al want access to local blackberry internet servers.

And yes, as I understand it the issue is here is the public (@blackberry.com) services not any local BES servers an institute would run. The BES servers still seem to backtrack to Canada rather than any in-country servers at least from how the global BB outages seem to occur (and dont get me started on that one :) )

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Silver badge

@but why if...

It doesn't - if you are a foreign company doing biz in SA then either they ignore you, assuming you are paying the appropriate commissions to local advisors, or tell you to hand over the details anyway,

This is no different form the deal RIM and every network operator has with the UK, USA, and any other country with a police force.

This is about not letting the locals do deals, avoid tax and organise democracy without the local secret service being able to tap it - like they do in the UK, USA and .....

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Alert

never

Never underestimate the Power of the Oil Side....

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Job losses.

Presumably then a few Canadians will be losing their jobs so that the Saudi people's religion is protected from porn.

Ha ha ha.

Don't look at them, they might see a nipple. Why do we still deal with these people, oil I suppose. I wonder if I'm allowed to moderate the internet.

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Boffin

Compensation

Well, I would think that asking for the possibility to monitor emails is an attempt to compensate for their other misgivings. Their sense of control is obviously different from the rest of the world. Besides, usually for any kind of intelligence in the region, intelligence would be handed out to them and not the other way around. I would think the servers would present nice ornaments in their over-sized halls.

I say this without any animosity. An evil genius will always outrun naive.

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