Waterloo, Canada - RIM Tells BlackBerry Users Their Data Are Secure
Waterloo, Canada - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. issued a statement to its customers assuring them that their data was secure, a day after regulators in the United Arab Emirates said they’d tussled with RIM over access to that data.
Monday’s statement also comes a day before a major product announcement for RIM, which is widely expected to roll out a new touch-screen smartphone with revamped software to challenge Apple Inc.‘s iPhone 4 and devices that run on Google Inc.‘s Android system.
The new BlackBerry is expected to have a slide-out keyboard in addition to its touch screen and be offered initially through AT&T Inc. in the U.S.
The U.A.E. said Sunday it would ban most BlackBerry services starting in October, citing national-security concerns. The country’s telecommunications regulator said Monday such a ban would apply to both domestic customers and international roaming users.
The government is worried it wouldn’t be able to compel RIM to turn over customer data, now processed in RIM’s private servers outside the country, said a person familiar with the situation.
The U.A.E. wanted RIM to locate servers in the country, where it had legal jurisdiction over them; RIM had offered access to the data of 3,000 clients instead, the person said.
RIM’s statement didn’t address the ban or its talks with U.A.E. directly, citing the “confidential nature’’ of discussions with governments. But the company outlined the features of BlackBerry’s security system and said it would be impossible for RIM to circumvent them.
RIM said the BlackBerry network was set up so that “no one, including RIM, could access’’ customer data, which is encrypted from the time it leaves the device. It added RIM would “simply be unable to accommodate any request’’ for a key to decrypt the data, since the company doesn’t have the key.
The BlackBerry network is designed “to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information under any circumstances,’’ RIM’s statement said.
The location of BlackBerry’s servers doesn’t matter, the company said, because the data on them can’t be deciphered without a decryption key.
“RIM assures customers that it will not compromise the integrity and security of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution,’’ the statement said.
RIM’s statement comes as a number of countries, including India and Kuwait, say they want more ability to monitor BlackBerry communications, in the interests of national security.
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