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RIM versus the TRA. Again

RIM versus the TRA. Again

Local media reports that the TRA has gained access to Blackberry encryption codes, while RIM has told Gulf News it literally can’t divulge such information. Which is true?

December 15, 2010 4:33 by

UAE vs RIM was the biggest game of “Chicken” Kipp can recall, and we’re not done yet, judging by local media reports.

Kipp still can’t figure who was the first to blink; or if anyone did, for that matter. Each suggests it was the other, apparently. Gulf News reports this week that the bosses at RIM say they can never divulge encryption keys to authorities for security purposes because the technology simply will not allow for it. In a statement to the paper, RIM said that it had made “no changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys.” In addition, RIM insists that it hasn’t made any special concessions for countries that have threatened to ban the usage of BBM like India and the UAE.

That’s a bit different to what local media have suggested: Earlier this week, reports claimed that the UAE’s TRA has obtained the encryption keys from RIM to access BlackBerry services, including instant messaging, e-mail and Web browsing.

Kipp hopes this isn’t the start of another argument. When we attended the press conference at this year’s GITEX at which RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie spoke, we noted that Balsillie not only said he was “thrilled and delighted” to be in the Emirates but also that he used the opportunity to announce new collaboration between RIM and the UAE government (he skirted over the contentious ban-threat).

So what do you think? Has the UAE received encryption keys to access BBM content? If so it could be that RIM gets to publicly deny this as part of the bargain, to reassure its customers. Or are reports that the TRA got access misleading?

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