The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is calling BlackBerry devices a security risk. The UAE telecom regulator has stated, “BlackBerry operates beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation.” BlackBerrys are the only devices used in the country that have data managed by a foreign, commercial agency and stored outside of the UAE. This conflicts with UAE law.
The real issue here is who has access to email sent via a Blackberry. While there is certainly a legitimate concern for countries wanting to monitor data traffic, there is also the issue of personal privacy. Such a debate is now brewing in the US and abroad. One such case has already made it to the Supreme Court as the court was asked to review the issue of personal messages sent by an employee’s cell phone over an employer’s network.
What makes this announcement even more interesting is that this is not the first time the UAE has tried to access Blackberry user data. In July 2009, BlackBerry users in the UAE were enticed via a fake update to download cell phone malware to their phone that would enable third parties to access private information on their phones. This hacking attempt was only discovered as the malware (bugs and kisses) was poorly written which drained batteries quickly.
It’s time people start realizing that smart phones are becoming mini hand held computers and there is an array of individuals wanting access to this data including hackers, identity thieves, and government entities. If you would like to hear more about this topic, check out the news segment Mr. Michael Gregg did with the Business News Network at http://watch.bnn.ca/after-hours/july-2010/after-hours-july-27-2010/#clip329618.