RIM is probably hoping this isn’t becoming a trend, but after the UAE and Saudi Arabia said that BlackBerry was a security liability, Lebanon may be following suit. Those countries have decided that BlackBerry services are a risk because of the potential use by militant forces or terrorists, and that the governments have no way of monitoring or accessing those services due to RIM’s strict security measures. If there is ultimately no solution to this problem, will it become a huge mess for RIM?
Right now, nothing is set in stone for Lebanon, but Reuters reports:
“We are studying the issue from all sides — technical, service-wise, economic, financial, legal and security-wise,” Hoballah told Reuters. “We are discussing this with the concerned administrations and ministries.”
RIM is in an unusual position of having to deal with government requests to monitor its clients because it is the only smartphone maker which manages the traffic of messages sent using its equipment.
With enterprise users heavily reliant on BlackBerry services, shutting down those services could hit the economy pretty badly. Users in other countries are already beginning to show concern for this particular issue since they do business in the UAE, India, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. The governments should strongly consider that it this wouldn’t just affect their citizens.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but as of now countries that have already decided to shut out RIM will be disabling e-mail, web browsing and BlackBerry Messenger. BlackBerry handsets will be rendered virtually useless with the ability to only make calls and send text messages when that happens, and soon it may be the case in Lebanon, too. The only viable compromise, it seems, is for Research In Motion to grant access to its system so these governments can monitor and track usage. However, the Blackberry maker has made it pretty clear that governments should have their own security measures in place without having to rely on the smartphone company.