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BlackBerry won’t be banned
The UAE government says that the little device you’re using to text your spouse is operating ‘beyond the law,’ but says it has no plans to stop them. What’s going on?
July 26, 2010 3:30 by Sam Potter
The government of the UAE, having raised the prospect that BlackBerries in the country may be restricted or monitored, has announced it has no plans to ban the devices, according to news reports. Zawya.com says an official at the TRA told Dubai-based channel Al Arabiya, “We are studying all options to regulate the services….but we don’t have plans to stop them.”
As Kipp reported yesterday, the UAE government’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said that “Currently, BlackBerry operates beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation, since it is the only device operating in the UAE that immediately exports its data offshore and is managed by a foreign, commercial organization.
“As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions.”
So, what exactly is going on? According to the Financial Times, Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry services, such as email and instant messaging, use internal encrypted networks that are difficult for governments to monitor. In fact, they use some of the most advanced encryption available, making them extremely difficult to monitor. As the paper tactfully puts it, “This has caused particular concern in nations such as the security-conscious UAE.”
According to the National, “each BlackBerry device generates its own ‘master key’ that is used to encrypt outgoing messages. The data is then sent to a ‘network operating centre’ located in either Canada or the UK. From there, the messages are relayed to the recipient’s wireless provider, which in turn delivers them to their BlackBerry device and decrypts them. The ‘master key’ is kept on the device for 30 days, after which a new key is generated. The old key is kept on the device for seven days before it is deleted.”
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