Blackberry developer Research In Motion must be very busy these days fighting its way through bans. A handful of countries threatened to block some or all of the Blackberry services, after raising concern that local data first travels overseas before finding its way back to users’ smartphones. The bans have been handed out together with requests for servers to be installed within these countries’ shores, allowing for data to be routed locally.
The states claim they are concerned about the security of data traffic flowing out. Earlier last month, a member of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Body assured that ‘There’s no decision yet on the ban, but we raised similar concerns as other countries over the security of data traffic… We just wanted to protect the customers and our country from any misuse of the content of communication using BlackBerry devices.’
A love triangle? An uneasy one, as a number of countries raise concerns over Blackberry’s overseas routing of user data. (Source: An Introduction to Internet Governance, p. 141)
The quabble lies at the heart of what An Introduction to Internet Governance describes as the third side of the privacy triangle which is the least publicised. ‘It is perhaps the most signi ficant privacy issue, probably because both states and businesses collect considerable amounts of data about individuals.’ (p. 141)
We’ll have to see whether RIM and these states enter into private agreements, and whether RIM would be allowed unfettered operations. The absence of any agreement will mean bans, starting with the UAE. The October 6th deadline is looming in.