I will probably get fired for this, but I like Blackberry and I admire the stance they have taken on protecting their customers’ privacy. The proposed ban in the United Arab Emirates for October 11 could not have come at a worse time for them. With designs straight out of B movie sci-fi and the release of the all singing all dancing OS 6 arriving around a year too late, Blackberry are in danger of slipping off the bottom of the smartphone leader board.
Despite deals being struck, as we talk, with Saudi Arabia and the involvement of the Canadian Government and the Clintons, Research In Motion (RIM) who develop and design the Blackberry are determined to stick to their guns and not release encryption codes, and good on ’em I say.
None of this, of course, has gone unnoticed by the rest of the mobile world and Raed Hafez of Motorola’s Middle Eastern division has been in talks with telecom providers in the Emirates over filling the gap. This is business of course, and no one can blame them, in just the same way that no one can blame a vulture for eying up an abandoned carcass.
Commitment to protecting their users’ data is Blackberry’s unique selling point, it would cost them dearly to be seen to back down but it will cost them to lose the lucrative Middle Eastern market too. Phrases involving devils and deep blue things spring to mind.
We will all, I’m sure, be watching with interest over the next two months but the whole debacle does beg a question – if the Arabic state has no such issues with Android and Apple, does that mean that they are far keener to hand over their encryption codes to foreign governments?