RIM may have cut deal with Saudi Arabia, say reports

Saudi Arabia did not go ahead with threat to cut BlackBerry services on Friday

Research in Motion (RIM) and Saudi Arabia have arrived at a preliminary agreement that will involve the company setting up its server there and providing the government access to the data, according to media reports on Saturday from Saudi Arabia.

An agreement by RIM with Saudi Arabia could set a precedent for similar deals with other countries, including India, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Indonesia, which are demanding that RIM locate servers in their country, and provide access to data to their security forces, analysts said.

Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), and local phone operators have reached a preliminary agreement with RIM over the handling of BlackBerry data that will involve setting up a server in the country, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the talks.

A CITC official however declined to comment on whether the talks were over, or had arrived at a resolution. RIM also did not respond to e-mail requests for comments.

Saudi Arabia had said that it would suspend BlackBerry services from Friday, but the service was largely uninterrupted, except for a four-hour break by one operator, according to reports. The UAE has also announced a suspension of BlackBerry services from October 11, as it objects to BlackBerry data from the country being sent offshore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization.

RIM is also negotiating with Indian officials who are demanding access to data on the BlackBerry network for its security agencies.

Imad Hoballah, acting chairman and CEO of Lebanon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, said on Friday that his agency is initiating talks with RIM next week, to ensure that security agencies in the country can monitor RIM’s network, as part of a move to strengthen telecommunications network security in the country afte after the country recently charged three people of spying for Israel.

While ruling out a suspension of BlackBerry services, Indonesia wants RIM to have a server in the country. Heru Sutadi, commissioner of Badan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesia (BRTI), the country’s regulator, said that BlackBerry traffic from the country now goes to Canada, and Indonesia cannot guarantee to local customers the security of the data that RIM processes, keeps, and saves in Canada.

In a customer update earlier this week circulated to the media, RIM said that it does not possess a "master key," nor does any "back door" exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party to gain unauthorized access to the encryption key or corporate data. The symmetric key system used in the BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers ensures that only the customer possesses a copy of the encryption key.

RIM is in a tight spot because if it is seen to compromise with governments on security and privacy, the BlackBerry will lose its attractiveness to customers, Matthew Reed, who heads research on wireless telecommunications in the Middle East and Africa for Informa Telecoms & Media, said earlier this week.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationconsumer electronicsresearch in motionRIM BlackBerry

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?