RIM and Saudi Arabia reach preliminary agreement

RIM and Saudi Arabia reach preliminary agreement
RIM and the government of Saudi Arabia have reached a preliminary agreement that will allow for a RIM server to be placed inside the country. The government will be able to monitor messages to make sure that no terror or criminal activity is being planned with the phones. Earlier Friday, Messaging, e-mail and web browsing was suspended and then quickly restored, according to John Sfakianakis. Mr. Sfakianakis, an economist with Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group, uses three different BlackBerry devices over three different cellular companies.

E-mails going from a 'Berry to a company server and from the server to the recipient's phone are encrypted. Once inside the server, they are decoded to sort and distribute them, and the Saudis will be able to get the data they want to see, from the RIM server. On October 11th, as we reported, the U.A.E plans on blocking the same messaging, e-mail and web browsing functions from BlackBerry devices within the Emirates for the same reason. Lebanon has also indicated some fear about letting the service continue unabated. Bruce Schneier, an author and chief security technology officer at British telecommunications operator BT, says that providing the server is similar to deals that RIM already has with Russia and China, "Now that they're doing it for small, oppressive countries — sure, everyone is going to ask for it," he said. For its part, RIM says that it doesn't allow itself or anyone else to read corporate e-mail. Consumer e-mail receives a lower level of security.

source: AP

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