RIM denies concessions for Gulf states


Research In Motion (RIM) has come out in defence of its enterprise solution and said it will not be adjusting its approach on a country by country basis.

The past few days have seen a number of reports that the BlackBerry manufacturer was in talks to change its enterprise solution after governments in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates complained they could not access encrypted messages sent over the devices, which they claimed was a threat to national security.

A statement sent to IT PRO from RIM this morning said: "In recent days there has been a range of commentary, speculation, and misrepresentation regarding this solution and we want to take the opportunity to set the record straight."

"There is only one BlackBerry enterprise solution available to our customers around the world and it remains unchanged in all of the markets we operate in. RIM cooperates with all governments with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect."

The company added: "Any claims that we provide, or have ever provided, something unique to the government of one country that we have not offered to the governments of all countries, are unfounded."

The Gulf states have threatened to cut off BlackBerry Messenger, email and web browsing from 11 October if it does not come to an arrangement with RIM to allow them access to the messages.

RIM's statement addressed that, saying: "The BlackBerry enterprise solution was designed to preclude RIM, or any third party, from reading encrypted information under any circumstances since RIM does not store or have access to the encrypted data."

Reports also emerged yesterday suggesting Kuwait was asking RIM to block pornographic sites from its handsets and there were claims India had come to an agreemeent with the mobile firm allowing the state to monitor emails.

"RIM cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key, since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party, ever possess a copy of the key," concluded RIM.

"This means that customers of the BlackBerry enterprise solution can maintain confidence in the integrity of the security architecture without fear of compromise."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.