Twenty-four hours after launching its latest handset, suddenly RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) is enduring high-level skepticism that its BlackBerry is suitable for use.
— The European Commission has mandated its staff must use Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) or HTC handsets, not BlackBerrys, as these “emerged at the most suitable platforms for voice/mail-centric mobile devices” following a review that took in “security and financial impact”.
— In Saudi Arabia, authorities plan on banning the BlackBerry Messenger service on August 6, saying officials must be able to intercept communications.
— In India, “any BlackBerry service that cannot be fully intercepted by our agencies must be discontinued”, a government security executive tells The Economic Times.
— The United Arab Emirates also plans to ban Messenger, email and web services from October, following three-year-long negotiations.
Unsavory as it may seem to civil libertarians, telecoms surveillance is part and parcel of anti-terror policing in nations around the world. The various standoffs have flared up because RIM says it doesn’t have “backdoors” or “master keys” that it can hand over to governments which grant access to users’ details.
RIM will hope to avoid such action in what is the world’s largest economic union and some of its most promising business territories.