back to article Saudi Arabia beats UAE to BlackBerry ban

BlackBerry users residing in, or visiting, Saudi Arabia should ensure that they can get to their messages another way, as the government is asking operators to block RIM’s email service from Friday. Other countries, notably the neighbouring UAE, have threatened to cut off the BlackBerry's email service, which provides messages …

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  1. Ralph B
    Stop

    Fruity Plurality

    Isn't the plural of "Blackberry" "Blackberries" rather than "Blackberrys"?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Fruity Plurality

      No. It's a brand name. This affects the plural form.

      I love my job. No, I do.

  2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Royal disconnection?

    Does that mean that all Saudi princes and princesses and their entourage will have to give up their toys this weekend? How are they going to occupy their thumbs anymore?

    Oh, I forgot, they now all have got eyeBads instead of Blackberries...

  3. Tigra 07
    Megaphone

    The UAE...

    are taking the mickey!

    First they try and push a bodge job of an update onto the phones, which could also open them up to more security threats.

    Then they expect RIM to go to them with a deal?

    Get on your knees UAE and start kissing that ass because your high horse has bolted and you don't have a leg to stand on!

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Mixing your metaphors

      *sob*

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Good excuse

    to ditch those crapberry handsets and get some quality <insert your fanboi device here> phones

    my preference is iPhone... :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      No iBones for me!

      Those who bought BBs did it because of the security, not because they wanted a shiny toy. If the iPhone were really secure, the UAE would be banning them as well.

      In fact, all this sabre-rattling is actually *good* PR for RIM. It means that the berries are actually so secure, those eeeevil snoopin' governments are unable to snoop into your stuff. That says a lot about the Blackberry security model!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Oddly enough ...

    RIM purchased a small company about a year ago called Alt-N and seem to be working on giving Alt-N users access to the RIM services - so it's likely that Blackberry users will be able to run there own servers at some point in the near future... and presumably in any country they wish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You already can

      You already can run your own Blackberry servers, they're called BES (Blackberry Enterprise Servers). I believe you can also download the BES server software for free for one or two devices.

      1. Keith Williams
        Big Brother

        BES

        yes, but it still works through RIMs servers and the local telecom for distribution. ie BES ->RIM -> telecom tower -> Blackberry and back

  6. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Them's Fighting Words

    "I believe they'll have trouble pulling the trigger to shut down BlackBerry," Reuters was told. "Most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry." A gauntlet thrown unless it was said by a competitor.

    The really misleading statement is that RTM has agreements with "over one hundred governments" which has been put numerically at 172.

    This is hardly secure communications, IMHO, and only bolsters the case for users implementing their own system independent encryption.

    1. David Eddleman

      Probably a miscommunication

      I doubt that RIM said "over a hundred governments". They probably said "over a hundred government *agencies*".

  7. Piers

    VPN anyone? or SSL?

    ...there are, of course, no secure alternatives to Blackberrys that those who wish to be secure can switch to, oh no. Not as convienient, true, but no less secure.

  8. PaulK
    Flame

    Yet another illustration....

    of why rich Arabs come to UK to do their shagging and drinking.

    If I was boss of the airline, I'd be holding my head in my hands muttering "WTF!" repeatedly.

  9. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Will RIM really care?

    Developing market? Not really, large population with loads of cash? Not really. It's just the royals and business men and lets be honest both the UAE and Saudi are dying economies if / when the oil runs out.

    Now if China and India said this I would be crapping my pants.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Depend® may be required

      Various news sources are currently quoting various officials including the Indian Special Secretary of Internal Security as wanting full and complete access to RIM servers' encrypted traffic. RIM has replied that they cannot release customers' keys. Looks like you might want to prepare yourself.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve Jobs

    Imagine if he were to insist all emails were routed (even if in encrypted form) via his servers in California...

  11. Gaslight

    In the end Canada is a NATO country

    RIM'll say no, but being Canadians, probably politely and I'd not be surprized if some visits and calls from the US consulate in Toronto have gone to Waterloo, Ontario. The one thing RIM sells that's their distinguishing feature is security. Their credibility is based upon this.

  12. Gordon 11

    Single-supplier == lack of security

    >> "Most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry."

    Why would *any* government "rely on" a proprietary product from a foreign producer? "Use", yes but "rely on"? If so, I expect to see lots of Security Heads rolling...

    I once helped to develop an industrial chemical process whose ingredients frightened me (and I'm the chemist). The only thing that freaked the business analysts though was that one component had a single supplier. So the process was never used.

  13. David Eddleman
    Stop

    Killer feature? Not really.

    "Push email, long the killer feature for BlackBerrys, is standard smartphone fare these days,"

    Fuck no. Push e-mail is a moronic idea. Especially when you have some person who has their e-mail hosted on a third-party source and all of a sudden it stops working and the fault -- surprise, surprise! -- is on RIM. And now you have to go and push RIM to convince them, yes, it is their fault, and to fix the problem. Which is not an easy task.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    ... But doesnt ActiveSync (used by iPhones and Droids in an enterprise environment) use https (TLS) to send/receive email. Am I missing something that TLS can now be decrypted by these governments? And if so isnt that a bigger issue? (And the BES servers send/receive email via the SSL model, so its also on the same secure layers surely?)

    So the only difference is ActiveSync is device->interenet->OWA and BES is device->RIM->BES->Exchange (via matching MAPI.dll version - oh dont get me started on that one!)

    Been a while since I delved into the security mechanisms of both systems even though I have to manage them here at work (BES and OWA/ActiveSync/ISA)

    1. Wallyb132
      Go

      Exchange activesync

      Yes exchange activesync is a secure alternative to RIM,, with exchange activesync there are no 3rd parties involved, the connection is secured by a certificate on the exchange server and transmitted by SSL via HTTPS. pretty straight forward, no third parties involved, the carrier cant decrypt the communication.

  15. Argus Tuft

    shhhh

    Don't let the Aussie Politicians hear - they'll want to block it first....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting implications

    So we can assume that, at least for the Saudis, RIM is secure given that the House of Saud has got more money to throw at this sort of problem than the NSA.

    And also - that the Cousins are not offering to help the Saudis in this since we can assume that the NSA probably don't need to crack the RIM security since they have access to the decrypted stream via an arrangement.

    Probably the easiest way to check this would be to email some pictures of the kids bath-time via a Blackberry and wait for a knock on the door in the UK?

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