RIM and the UAE

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Back when I was growing up in Liverpool my Dad used to tell me that ‘if something was too good to be true, it’s because it was‘. Its one of those fantastic Irish logical conundrums but it hid a basic truth: it is a lot harder to be conned if you have few expectations of anybody.

There are something about the whole RIM problems in the Middle East that don’t pass the sniff test, that it is too good to be true:

  • Look at the timing. You have a coalescence of pressure on Research In Motion from multiple countries. The United Arab Emirates is the stalking horse but there is also Saudi Arabia and India. All of which are partners with the US in the war on terror
  • Why were RIM customers in the United Arab Emirates put on such a long notice? The service is going to be turned off on October 11, 2010. That indicates that its a negotiating ploy to get leverage, or its a warning for people to get their house in order and stop doing naughty things like looking at decadent western pornography
  • RIM makes claims about its security system to its customers that experts say are doubtful. Every wireless device being sold in Russia has to be certified by the FSB, which is why the iPad 3G is currently illegal. China makes similar strong requirements to protect the security and integrity of their country. RIM sells its Blackberry devices and service in both countries. Then you have the US and the war on terror, do you honestly think that the US government would allow Blackberry devices on the market if they could be used for uncrackable terrorist-to-terrorist communication?
  • Why is RIM such a special security risk? Surely a web email connection through an SSL encrypted tunnel represents just as much of a security challenge as RIM’s secure email?

What is security anyway? Skype is considered to be one of the best most secure consumer products out there, yet its security is in question. However, if you are going to surveil someone it is much easier to get decent material if they don’t think that you are keeping an eye on them.

Its hard to know what to think. The question I am trying to think of an answer to is this: If all this was a distraction, like a street theatre act which distracts tourists so pickpockets can work them over; or a shell game where betters are deceived into following a cup with a marble hidden under it (that isn’t really there). Then what’s the real action, what are we missing that is happening before our eyes?