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Security Cellphones Encryption Government Privacy

Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-name-is-michael-westen dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Does the battle over the Blackberry ban in the United Arab Emirates have its roots in a spy story? Dubai's police chief says concern over espionage (specifically, by the US and Israel) led to the decision to limit BlackBerry services. The UAE says it will block BlackBerry email, messaging, and web services on October 11th unless it gets access to encrypted data. Comments by Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim are often seen as reflecting the views of Dubai's leadership, and would appear to indicate a very hard line in talks with Research in Motion."
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Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool

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  • in countries that pay a premium on authoritarianism?

    the only thing i wonder is why is this story happening in 2010 and not earlier?

  • Re:Shoes a spy tool (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 05, 2010 @01:39AM (#33480050)

    What does that have to do with Spy Shoes? Can somebody mod that off topic?

  • by sl149q (1537343) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @01:41AM (#33480058)

    What is so special about RIM security (speaking as a non-RIM user here...)?

    If I have a Blackberry (or any smartphone, say Android or iPhone) don't I just point at a mail server with IMAP and pick up stuff with SSL/TLS? Are the "spies" so stupid that they wouldn't just point a a non RIM mail server?

    And as mentioned above then you can start using PGP for the content as well.

  • Re:Shoes a spy tool (Score:4, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @01:58AM (#33480120) Homepage

    It's not "weird" but it certainly calls attention to an interesting duality of standards. The people of the U.S. aren't quite as concerned when its own government does the things it does, but we tend to go ape shit when other governments do the same or even a lesser version of the same. We call it wrong and anti-freedom and all that while at the same time, we justify to ourselves that it is somehow okay for our own government to do this. I'm sure I will never see the day when people finally wake up to reality, but I hope they do.

  • by stalkedlongtime (1630997) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @02:05AM (#33480150) Journal
    It's practically a given that TEMPEST-like capabilities moved to satellites, decades ago. Combine that with ECHELON or something like it, and everything that everyone is displaying on their screens (Internet-connected or not) is probably being hoovered up by at least one intelligence agency. Including what's on the screens of those precious Blackberries.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @02:48AM (#33480284) Journal
    In the hands of a skilled person, including a skilled spy, anything can be useful for any purpose. Even a common orange has its place in a spy's toolkit. Do you really think that's chewing gum in his mouth?

    Every tool has uses that conformists never ponder. Critical thinkers are already ahead of the curve of every government. Of course, no government is willing to admit it (out loud).
  • Re:RIM is Canadian. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @03:23AM (#33480370) Homepage Journal
    A Canadian company has to bend over to to wishes of the Canadian gov that enjoys working with the NSA.
    Canada did consider going it alone for crypto after ww2, the the US and the UK both had reasons to pull Canada back in.
    The US did not want an intel free for all between the UK and Canada. So the US/NSA worked very hard to make sure Canada got crypto and intel as did the UK, NZ and Australia. The gift back was very close, long term work. The idea that Canadian crypto work, public or private was ever outside "US demands" over many decades would be very very strange.
  • by daveime (1253762) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @05:04AM (#33480610)

    Having spent a couple of years in the UAE back in the 90's, I can tell you the ban has NOTHING to do with spying, and everything to do with Etisalat (the national phone company) desire to control all aspects of IT in the country.

    Years ago, at the advent of the mobile, you could get one (1) model of phone in Abu Dhabi ... the "Hud Hud 1" was the model name, I remember it fondly, with it's external antenna that almost took your eye out, and it's inability to hold a call for more than 5 minutes. You couldn't even use it indoors, I had to sit outside in the bloody desert with only camel spiders for company, to call my girlfriend who worked in Abu Dhabi city. Text hadn't even been invented, so it was calls only.

    There was one (1) phone model, one (1) line provider, one (1) internet provider, one (1) e-mail service, and it was All Etisalat provided.

    Now, 12 years, later, there is a few more phone models, but still only one (1) line provider, one (1) internet provider, one (1) e-mail service ... wanna take a guess who it is ?

    Whichever of Sheikh Khalifa's brothers is running Etisalat doesn't want his business fucked up, and the possibility of anyone using IT without Etisalat getting their pound of flesh is unthinkable. THAT is why they are putting the screws on RIM.

  • Re:The real issue (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 05, 2010 @10:31AM (#33481546)

    Except smartass, this time Israeli spies really did land in Dubai, use Blackberries, assassinated someone and left.

    Dubai police can't decrypt the messages sent by the spies.

    DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM? OR ARE YOU TOO MUCH OF AN AMERIC*NT TO FIGURE IT OUT?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 05, 2010 @01:05PM (#33482252)

    The above post is just spreading FUD. Having lived in the UAE for well over a decade and still having my company's headquarters there I can attest that several of your statements are in fact completely false.

    1) Dubai has one of the largest mobile markets in Asia and the world. It's a multi billion dollar industry where mobiles are shipped globally (Europe, Africa and Asia) due to it's tax free status and there is no restriction whatsoever of using your own unlocked mobile on Etisalat's networks. In fact the variety of mobiles used in Dubai is second to no other city I have seen anywhere on the 6 continents have have traveled to, other than possibly Hong Kong, and Singapore. I used to bring back phones to my friends in the US over 10 years ago who's jaws would drop and wonder what kind of future technology I had bought back due to the lag in local carriers adopting new handsets (which still exists today).

    2) Etisalat is not the only phone provider in the UAE and has not been for quite some time now. Please do your research AND still more operators are negotiating terms as we speak. Etisalat is not able to handle all the traffic in the country and they have realized this years ago.

    Not to spread more FUD but your post seems like one that was written by someone embittered by the country, perhaps you got into bad investments and decided it was time to leave, like so many expats who haven't be able to cut it have?

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