Research In Motion

Why I don't want an iPhone

I don’t want an iPhone. I like my Blackberry just fine, and now I will explain why I don’t want an iPhone, ever.

Major Reason: Security – PIN, encoded messaging and browsing.

Blackberry TorchUAE to ban Blackberry email, web browsing and messaging.

Citing national security concerns, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it will soon ban e-mail, web browsing and messaging for the BlackBerry smartphone.

“In the public interest, we have today informed the providers of telecommunications services in the country of our decision to suspend the Blackberry services of messenger, email and electronic browsing,” stated Mohammed al-Ghanem, the chief of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

“Today’s decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national-security concerns,” continued the government’s statement. According to al-Ghanem, “It’s a final decision,” but they are continuing discussions with Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry device.

That is one major hell yeah reason why I want a Blackberry. Authoritarian, nosy, snoopy governments can’t read my data. The major plus is that Research in Motion has refused to buckle to such big brother bullying. If I am going to rely on something for my communications then i want to know that the provider of the technology won’t sell out on it’s consumers.

At the heart of the ban is the method in which RIM handles BlackBerry data. Unlike most phones, BlackBerry data is encrypted and routed overseas through RIM’s network center in Canada. This has been a major point of contention for several nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and India, because it means that these nations cannot monitor the encrypted data being sent. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ban came after RIM rejected the idea of setting up a proxy server within the UAE.

Data security and privacy is important, and it is something Apple and Microsoft suck at. kudos to research in Motion for looking after its consumers.

Ban on BlackBerry data a security badge of honor
By Glenn Chapman (AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO — Security experts have said that banning BlackBerry data service in the United Arab Emirates smacks of political backlash and could be a testament to how hard it is to snoop on that network.

“The BlackBerry security model is very different from other phones,” said Kevin Mahaffey of Lookout mobile security firm.

“It is end-to-end and the encryption is so strong nobody knows how to monitor it.”

Canada-based Research In Motion built its own platform for business customers that encrypts BlackBerry email messages and routes them in a way that keeps the data off limits from even telecom firms that carry the transmissions.

“They have such good security that I think some countries are uncomfortable with the fact that they can’t intercept it,” said Lookout chief executive John Hering.

While iPhones have been all the rage with smartphones users thrilled by games, social networking, video watching and other casual uses, BlackBerry has remained a favorite for business people craving secure wireless communications.

Leave the iPhones to the kids. There is a reason why sensible government ministers use Blackberrys. The media is supporting Blackberry too.

Blackberry pickle: RIM should resist snoops

THE last thing Research in Motion should do is kowtow to authoritarian governments. The smartphone maker on Tuesday tried to create some buzz around the New York launch of its revamped product (the BlackBerry Torch is widely touted as the answer to the Apple iPhone). But the real buzz was over whether the Canadian company was caving in to pressure for it to sacrifice some of its vaunted consumer security to satisfy the demands of state security.

The United Arab Emirates, which boasts 500,000 BlackBerry users — not to mention a fair chunk of the 100,000 visitors a day who pass through the Gulf states — is threatening to suspend vital BlackBerry applications like email and Internet browsing unless the firm makes it easier for the government to monitor encrypted BlackBerry communications.

Kuwait has expressed similar concerns and has given RIM a list of 3,000 so-called porn sites it wants the firm to block from its smartphones in the country. Meanwhile, RIM is reportedly compromising with the government of India by sharing technical codes for corporate email services. (India, at least, is a genuine democracy.)

At issue is RIM’s closed communication network. The firm processes users’ encrypted messages through its own centres in Canada and the U.K. and does not use the open Internet for transmissions, so BlackBerrys are less vulnerable to electronic surveillance.

Governments that like to keep an eye on their citizens are frustrated and claim the BlackBerry can enable criminal behaviour or terrorist plots, although terrorists are far better at carrying out attacks with low-tech means. The real concern is the fact that BlackBerrys can empower citizens to organize opposition to authoritarian governments.

I say to governments, including our own, keep you beady distrustful eyes out of my communications. And on that front, I note that Blackberry has released their new Torch.

A note to loyal fans thinking of buying a present for The Whale…a Blackberry Torch looks like the business for me. Thanks in advance.