Too much of a good thing?

RIM facing foreign heat over BlackBerry security just as a new model is unveiled

One of the major selling points of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices is security, which is top of mind for North American corporations, law firms and government departments—traditionally some of RIM’s biggest and best customers. But as RIM continues its overseas expansion, its focus on encrypting messages has caused it to run afoul of foreign officials who want to be able to monitor what people are talking about on their mobile devices. There are reports that India’s government has reached a deal with RIM to allow security authorities to monitor BlackBerry services because of concerns about threats to national security. Similarly, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that RIM had given approval to block some 3,000 port sites from its devices amid broader security concerns and rumours that the UAE would block BlackBerry features like email, instant messaging and Web browsing unless it had access to encrypted traffic. For its part, RIM has said only that it will respect the concerns of customers and governments in the countries in which it operates. The flap over security comes as RIM took the wraps off its latest device today—a touch screen phone with a slide out keyboard called the Torch—in New York. The device is being viewed by analysts as an attempt to better compete with the iPhone in the ballooning consumer smartphone market.


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