RIM CEO Fires Back at BlackBerry Bans in Middle-East and Elsewhere

BlackBerry-Burqa

In addition to the two statements RIM has already issued regarding government restrictions on BlackBerry services in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Lebanon, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has stepped in to make a few more comments on the situation, that basically tell these governments that they might as well go ahead and ban the internet because it is just as encrypted as BlackBerry messages are, but RIM is still willing to talk.

“Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can’t deal with the Internet, they should shut it off.  … We have dealt with this before. This will get resolved. And it will get resolved if there is a chance for rational discussion. … We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don’t have Ph.Ds, and they don’t have a degree in computer science.”

In the interview, Lazaridis also says that if given a court order for a lawful interception (the source of foreign governments’ stress over BlackBerry), he would comply, but which court? Canadian?

This whole mess has exploded over the government of various countries being unable to tap into BlackBerry communications, either via web, e-mail, or BBM, meaning any crimes coordinated using the device would be untraceable. A fair enough complaint, but considering how much these very governments rely on BlackBerrys (let alone private enterprises), a complete lockdown of BlackBerry services would hurt those countries as much as it would RIM – arguable moreso. Although it sounds like there’s still room for negotiation, the U.A.E. has confirmed that the October 11 shut-down date is final. Saudi Arabia’s cutting the wires this weekend, while India and Leabanon are only concerned about the situation and have taken any action against RIM services… yet.

[via WSJ, pic]