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Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-name-is-michael-westen dept.

Security 215

crimeandpunishment writes "Does the battle over the Blackberry ban in the United Arab Emirates have its roots in a spy story? Dubai's police chief says concern over espionage (specifically, by the US and Israel) led to the decision to limit BlackBerry services. The UAE says it will block BlackBerry email, messaging, and web services on October 11th unless it gets access to encrypted data. Comments by Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim are often seen as reflecting the views of Dubai's leadership, and would appear to indicate a very hard line in talks with Research in Motion."

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Shoes a spy tool (4, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33479992)

Shoes are also a well known spy tool. 99.999% of all spys use them.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (1, Offtopic)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480036)

Sorry, but US demands EU and a lot of other countries to give them access to their peoples banking, financial and all kind of other data, and don't get me even started on the NSA listening devices and backdoors on major ISP's backbones. Why is it so weird when other countries in turn demand the same kind of access? If US wants to promote privacy of citizens, at least start doing it yourself first.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480050)

What does that have to do with Spy Shoes? Can somebody mod that off topic?

Re:Shoes a spy tool (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480268)

sorry, my shoe is ringing.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (0)

wmac (1107843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480358)

What is the relation of shoes to this topic at all? Discussion was not about shoes and the TS was trying to make fun of the main topic.

RIM is Canadian. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480088)

Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (TSX: RIM, NASDAQ: RIMM) is a Canadian telecommunication and wireless device company best known as the developer of the BlackBerry smartphone.

Please explain how a Canadian company has anything to do with what the US demands?

Re:RIM is Canadian. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480222)

The CIA outsources all the time. Especially to Canada (and the UK, and Australia).

Re:RIM is Canadian. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480276)

Oh really, and you have proof of it in this instance?!

Re:RIM is Canadian. (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480370)

A Canadian company has to bend over to to wishes of the Canadian gov that enjoys working with the NSA.
Canada did consider going it alone for crypto after ww2, the the US and the UK both had reasons to pull Canada back in.
The US did not want an intel free for all between the UK and Canada. So the US/NSA worked very hard to make sure Canada got crypto and intel as did the UK, NZ and Australia. The gift back was very close, long term work. The idea that Canadian crypto work, public or private was ever outside "US demands" over many decades would be very very strange.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480120)

It's not "weird" but it certainly calls attention to an interesting duality of standards. The people of the U.S. aren't quite as concerned when its own government does the things it does, but we tend to go ape shit when other governments do the same or even a lesser version of the same. We call it wrong and anti-freedom and all that while at the same time, we justify to ourselves that it is somehow okay for our own government to do this. I'm sure I will never see the day when people finally wake up to reality, but I hope they do.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480330)

So you are saying that my private encryption key on my blackberry has been turned over to the US government?

You do know how it works do you not?
http://na.blackberry.com/eng/ataglance/security/features.jsp [blackberry.com]

Its my security key. Not Rims.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480694)

From the link you posted, did you even read that?
Or do you not use the system you posted?

"The BlackBerry Enterprise Solution offers two transport encryption options, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Triple Data Encryption Standard (Triple DES)*, for all data transmitted between BlackBerry® Enterprise Server and BlackBerry smartphones.

Private encryption keys are generated in a secure, two-way authenticated environment and are assigned to each BlackBerry smartphone user. Each secret key is stored only in the user's secure enterprise account (i.e., Microsoft® Exchange, IBM® Lotus® Domino® or Novell® GroupWise®) and on their BlackBerry smartphone and can be regenerated wirelessly by the user.

Data sent to the BlackBerry smartphone is encrypted by BlackBerry Enterprise Server using the private key retrieved from the user's mailbox. The encrypted information travels securely across the network to the smartphone where it is decrypted with the key stored there."

Storing your private key in 2 places is traditionally a bad idea. Especially when one of those places is in the hands of a company which can be compelled to hand it over without telling you.

If the goal were to simply be able to send data securely between your secure enterprise account and your blackberry then your secure enterprise account should only have your public key with which to encrypt data it sends to you and your private key should remain in your hands and your hands alone.
Idealy the secure enterprise account shouldn't be able to decrypt your data at all.

Now this could be for the sake of efficiency since public key crypto takes more cpu cycles but simply put if the US government asked for your private key, lets say they sent an NSL, RIM would be able to give it to them.
That is not a secure system.
A secure system would be one where only you have your private key and where blackberry merely validates certificates.
In which case anyone who wanted to read your communications would have to perform an explicit man in the middle attack after strong-arming blackberry into signing a cert for them.

So to make it genuinely secure you'd have to use public key crypto and let people choose their own certificate service in which case it would be as secure as the cert service and devices themselves.

So you are saying that my private encryption key on my blackberry has been turned over to the US government?

Simply put, if they asked for it then yes, there's nothing stopping that.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480746)

Now this could be for the sake of efficiency since public key crypto takes more cpu cycles but simply put if the US government asked for your private key, lets say they sent an NSL, RIM would be able to give it to them.
That is not a secure system.

Note how this is an Enterprise(tm) system. There is no expectation of privacy, only contracts and CYA.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480760)

(Re)read his post. He's saying the exact opposite.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (3, Informative)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480174)

Why is it so weird when other countries in turn demand the same kind of access? If US wants to promote privacy of citizens, at least start doing it yourself first.

Just because our country does it, doesn't mean that we don't oppose it. We oppose violation of privacy in all its forms, including our own government's.

Re:Shoes a spy tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480352)

We oppose violation of privacy in all its forms, including our own government's.

yeah, but we allow it nonetheless, right?

Re:Shoes a spy tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480484)

No, we just remember Waco and Ruby Ridge, and most of us decide we don't wanna end up like that. The rest, well, end up like that.

PGP (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#33479996)

Is a much better spy tool. And you cannot block all email to and from all servers!

Re:PGP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480008)

Wow, spy tool as in other countries are intercepting mail going through RIM's servers numnuts. ... we'd be crazy NOT to do that.

Re:PGP (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480032)

PGP does have one weakness that an encrypted blackberry server wouldn't have though. Namely that it's still possible to determine who a person is sending mail to. Now good spys would set up an elaborate relay system, but we have seen how clumsy "superspys" can be with technology on occasion....

Re:PGP (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480240)

You'd think spies would make use of some sort of onion routing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onion_routing [wikipedia.org]

Re:PGP (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480438)

Onion routing still doesn't prevent the authorities from eavesdropping communications between the isp and the spy, it would just make spying on anything after that incredibly difficult. Ultimately if you really want protection just buy a satellite phone that allows for end to end encryption, it's more expensive but worth every scheckel.

Re:PGP (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480652)

Throw-away Gmail accounts and encryption would be cheaper, simpler, and just as "safe" assuming no one person is captured and new emails are used for every action. And a country that really wanted to could block or track satphones (who they talk to, if not obfuscated, but not what they say, if encrypted). And it really sucks that they don't work indoors. Skype on a data network would be easier, or just use a SIP client, or an encrypted SIP client or any of a variety of ways that are just as safe (and much easier) than satphones. Well, cheaper and easier once set up, but yes, a satphone is easy to plug and play.

Re:PGP (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480542)

That's what TLS is for.

Re:PGP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480162)

Why not? I mean, they certainly could if they wanted to. They probably wouldn't have to anyhow. With PGP isn't only the body of the message encrypted? The header would have to be in plain text in order for the message to be routed across servers that do not use PGP.

Re:PGP (3, Insightful)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480326)

And with APG [thialfihar.org] and k9mail [google.com] on Android [android.com] this is simple to use on a mobile phone. I bet the UAE (and the USA) government would have a fit if everyone sent emails with 4096 bit encryption.

Politically prompted? (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480002)

You have to wonder if this guy isn't looking for some kind of promotion. The easiest way to go from nobody to somebody is to get noticed.

Re:Politically prompted? (3, Insightful)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480066)

So if RIM were a Chinese company, or better - Iranian, or say head quartered in Dubai, would you have any problems with BlackBerries being used by the majority of our government officials & heads of industry? These people have more than enough reason to be wary of our intelligence services.
Without knowing any specifics, you should at least have a _little_ faith in their (our intel) capabilities. It's just a little silly to think the rest of the world is just a bunch of tinfoil hat types when it's no secret that we, and everybody else do pay people to collect information on, stuff. AKA spy.

Re:Politically prompted? (0, Troll)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480160)

Which seems more likely, A guy "suddenly" having a opinion on a device thats understood worldwide. Or that he just wants someone above him to notice him? And I have no problem with being snooped on. Privacy is a illusion, one that I gladly hide behind. But I am not deluded into thinking that it's more then a paper tiger. If governments TRULY wanted access, they would. It doesn't take much to torture a person.

Re:Politically prompted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480278)

you need privacy _now_ for you and your ideas to protect yourself from dictatorship _later_

for those who believe dictatorships are a thing of the past/third world country, look no further than 70 years ago to find one egregious example of why you need to keep your color for yourself.

Re:Politically prompted? (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480632)

Seventy years? You think you have to go that far back to find a dictatorship? Read current events, and you can find one totalitarian state in existence right now in Korea. At least 3 repressive theocracies, in existence, right now. We can list some de facto dictatorships in the last 40 years, no matter the names they used for their nations and/or governments. Pol Pot and Idi Amin come readily to mind, as does Saddam Hussein. Maybe people like yourself don't recognize a dictatorship unless and until they kill off a million or more people. Even so - Pol Pot's government should have caught your notice!

Re:Politically prompted? (4, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480722)

http://www.planetrulers.com/current-dictators/ [planetrulers.com]

authoritarian regimes/dictatorships

Algeria - Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria
Angola - Mr. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola
Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan
Belarus - Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of Belarus
Bhutan - Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, King of Bhutan
Brunei - Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah
Cambodia - His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia
Cameroon - Paul Biya, President of Cameroon
Chad - Idriss Deby, President of Chad
China - Hu Jintao, President of China
Congo, Dem. Rep. of - Isidore Mvouba, Prime Minister of Congo
Côte d'Ivoire - Laurent Gbagbo, President of Cote d'Ivoire
Cuba - Raul Castro, President of Cuba
Egypt - Hosny Mubarak, President of Egypt
Equatorial Guinea - OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President
Eritrea - Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea
Guinea - Lansana Conte, President of Guinea
Iran - Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad, President of Iran
Iraq - Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq
Kazakhstan - Nursultan Nazarbaev, President of Kazakhstan
Laos - Lieutenant General Choummaly Sayasone, President
Libya - Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, Leader of Libya
Myanmar (Burma) - Soe Win, Prime Minister of Myanmar (Burma)
North Korea - Kim Jong-il, President of North Korea
Oman - Qaboos bin Said Al-Said, Prime Minister of Oman
Pakistan - Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
Qatar - Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani
Russia - Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, President of Russia
Rwanda - Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
Saudi Arabia - King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia
Somalia - Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, President of Somalia
Sudan - Omar H.A. Al-Bashier, President of Sudan
Swaziland - Mswati III, King of Swaziland
Syria - Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria
Tajikistan - Emomalii Rahmon, President of Tadjikistan
Thailand - Surayut Chulanon, Royal Prime Minister of Thailand
Togo - Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of Togo
Tunisia - Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia
Turkmenistan - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, President of Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates - Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Uzbekistan - Islam Abdughanievich Karimov, President of Uzbekistan
Vietnam - Nong Duc Manh, President of Vietnam
Zimbabwe - Robert (Gabriel) Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe

Re:Politically prompted? (3, Informative)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480246)

RIM has made it known that they are giving the encryption keys to BlackBerry communications to various governments - ergo, it makes some sense for Saudi Arabia to say that Saudi businessmen are not allowed to use them despite the convenience, due to risk of business espionage by foreign governments.

Only if they were dumb about it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480344)

If they were all passing through Blackberry's central servers, then sure, I'd be worried. However if they had their own BES and were doing end-to-end encryption to it (which it will do, that's why the US government uses them)? Then no.

Also I'd be far more worried about regular cell phones and the like, I'd think the NSA would have a much easier time monitoring those.

This Blackberry shit really looks like BS. It looks like corrupt officials want to get access to what is happening in their country so they can be more corrupt.

Also I'm sorry, but the US really DOES have a better record protecting people's rights and privacies than China. Perfect? No, but you tell me the nation you think is perfect, I'll show you the nation you aren't educated about. If I ran a multinational company, I wouldn't really worry about the US government getting in to our private communications to spy on us and had over our information to a US company. I would very much worry about China doing that.

Re:Only if they were dumb about it (2, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480670)

Well China is a fairly easy target to beatup. Seeing as how government officials have repeatedly been showing willingness to screw over one party, or a foreign business group for the benefit of someone they know. There, the government is just a partner of your business. If they aren't? You can bet your ass they'll be helping your competitor because you wern't in lock step with them.

Hit submit by accident (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480356)

What I was also going to say is: If I was a counter-intelligence chief and particularly one in a country where the government could force their will internally easier than the US, and I was concerned about a device being used to spy, I'd push to have the device banned. We'd work to get rid of them and run public education campaigns letting people know that they could be spied on using them. That is how to make it safe. I wouldn't ask for access to the data. That gets me nothing in terms of preventing others from using it.

It would be like upon finding out that someone had bugged private political offices going to the person who planted the bugs and not arresting them, but saying "It's cool, just let me listen in too." If I wanted to stop the spying, I'd remove the bugs and arrest the person who placed them.

If you do that, you aren't concerned about stopping spying, you are the one who wants to do the spying.

nice marketing (2, Insightful)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480018)

all the news lately makes me want to buy a blackberry.

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480028)

Spy's sappin' mah civilian surveillance.

We're worried you're spys because (1, Troll)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480040)

we can't read your encrypted messages and are too stupid or too lazy to crack them ourselves, so won't you please give us the golden master keys to the kingdom?

Re:We're worried you're spys because (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480078)

You mean just like the US and UK governments do through legal or extra-legal means? Installing data taps in ISP and telephone providers operations centres? Demanding encryption keys from companies and private citizens alike?

Let's not pretend that these are tinpot developing nations - these guys are following the example set by #1!

i'm so sick of this equivalency (-1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480274)

let's get this straight right off: there never existed, does not exist, and never will exist a government that does not spy on its citizens

do you understand that? it's called law enforcement. it is not possible to have a functional society without law enforcement. and its not possible to effectively enforce laws without some actual ability to pry. do you honestly have any problem with any of those assertions? if you do, you are a fruitcake, because you don't understand the nature of the world you live in, and you are out of touch with reality

once you have understood and accepted the basics, you judge a government on WHAT is being spied on and WHY

kiddie porn? is it ok to crack down on people trading that in your mind? no? ok, you're a moron. because 100% of governments do and a vast majority of citizens do, and explaining to you why it is a problem is beyond the scope of the amount of intellectual charity i want to spoon feed you in this post

now how about political speech? is it a problem if a country snoops on simple political speech? no? congratulations! you win teh prize!

its the most telling thing to me that those who criticize the US and UK are probably americans and british, who, if they were living in iran or china, would be keeping their fat know-it-all-mouths sealed shut. because, if you lived in those countries, you would actually know the substantiative difference between what the us and uk snoop on and consider problematic, and what iran and china snoop on and consider problematic: namely, criticism of your own fucking government

you criticize a government you live under that openly and freely tolerates criticism of itself? oooh, you are such a revolutionary. truly you are living dangerously and are the intellectual vanguard of your generation

now you try the same fucking thing in iran or china, and get back to me on your feelings about why the usa and iran, the uk and china, are alllllll the same when it comes on spying on their citizens, you fucking genius

Re:i'm so sick of this equivalency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480312)

you are a fucking idiot.

Re:i'm so sick of this equivalency (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480398)

"let's get this straight right off: there never existed, does not exist, and never will exist a government that does not spy on its citizens
do you understand that? it's called law enforcement."

FAIL.

Law enforcement doesn't need to spy and should not spy without reason and a court order. It is spying and watching as a matter of course,, prying into everyone's lives for no reason, that is the issue here.

And for fuck's sake lay off the "you just try that in iran and china!" line, it makes you look like a moron. Being better than some of the most repressive regimes on the planet isn't enough for me, is it enough for you?

Re:i'm so sick of this equivalency (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480528)

That is the way it should be, but it is not the way it is anymore.

There has been warrantless tapping in the US, and a reduction in oversight generally, while EU law now REQUIRES that ISPs and phone companies record EVERYONE's activities/

Re:i'm so sick of this equivalency (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480470)

aaah, the usual circletimessquare, trolling some more.

Flame on, circletimes, flame on.

a system that pays attention to impenetrability (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480046)

in countries that pay a premium on authoritarianism?

the only thing i wonder is why is this story happening in 2010 and not earlier?

when you start in the title it makes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480166)

it harder to read.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (1)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480198)

Can you stand before God on the intellectual property issue? Maybe, you can. I think it's theft.

Are you against professional programmers and artist? Clearly you haven't thought this through. Maybe, you're an admin or something. Hope you get out-sourced.

if i steal your bike (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480224)

you have no bike

if i copy a file, we both have a file

where's the theft?

saying copying files is like theft is like saying looking at a picture of your wife is the same as having sex with your wife

you don't even understand the basics of what you are talking about, in a manner a kindergartener could understand the difference

Re:if i steal your bike (0)

frehe (6916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480554)

If I copy your $100 bill, we both have a $100 bill, but I have lowered the value of your bill.

If I copy a movie, I have less incentive to rent or buy the same movie, or to watch it at the cinema, so I have lowered the chance that the people who financed the movie will make a profit on it and finance more movies.

If I copy nude pictures you have taken of your wife, you still have your wife and the pictures, but both of you might feel insulted by my disregard for your rights to property and privacy.

Re:if i steal your bike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480564)

It's absolutely not theft...it's illegal broadcasting and should be taken up by the FCC.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480394)

I think it's fairly evident that God opposes IP. After all, his communications and other intellectual property has always been public domain.

Also, what's your position on tyranny? Good/bad?

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480474)

Can you stand before God on the intellectual property issue? Maybe, you can. I think it's theft.

Was Jesus stealing when he made copies of the loaves and fishes? If your answer is "no" because there was at the time no law against it, consider that God's command not to steal is unchangeable.

If the commandment "Thou shalt not steal" condemns copying, then how does Jesus remain sinless? If not, then any biblical obligation to follow it is based on the requirement of obedience to authority and not a God given statute. While you may think that theologically that gives those laws the same force, it still definitively destroys the equating of copyright infringement with theft from a biblical perspective. Even if you still agree with the current copyright laws you have some revision to do on how you relate those laws to religion. Furthermore, anything that is only wrong because authority says so is subject to that authority (or a higher one) repealing the law. Therefore, from a Christian perspective, it is completely justifiable to advocate any change to copyright laws you see fit.

I'd recommend giving some consideration to whether calling copying theft is in fact levelling an accusation at Jesus and therefore blasphemy.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480560)

You forget that Jesus was the son of God (or God himself, or a part of God himself, or some combination depending on who you ask) and that the IP on plants and animals belong to God. ;-)

Besides, people gave Jesus the loaves and fishes. He made copies of his own loaves and fishes, not copies of someone else's.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480782)

Besides, people gave Jesus the loaves and fishes. He made copies of his own loaves and fishes, not copies of someone else's.

That has no bearing on the situation with copyright. If I buy or am given a DVD, copyright law prohibits me from copying and distribution. Owning the copy from which you make copies does not in the slightest decrease your liability for distributing copyrighted works. I maintain my position that viewing copyright violation as theft is incompatible with viewing Jesus as sinless.

It might seem tongue in cheek and it's true I don't want Christianity imposed by legislation but I still don't see how a Christian can take the view that copyright infringement is theft. If copying were theft, it would surely have been mentioned somewhere, failing that you would at least expect the one example of sinlessness to refrain from it.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480482)

I see copyrights and patents as impediment to economy, they all must be abolished and I am a developer.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (2, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480534)

God does not want people to breach state mandated monopolies? What next - God supported Stalin?

Artists made a living for millennia before copyright law.

Many professional programmers choose to make limited use of copyright protection (open source licences) or even waive them altogether (stuff like SQLite that is public domain).

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480338)

Because Israeli spies allegedly killed Mahmoud al Mabhouh [wikipedia.org] in Dubai in 2010 and suspicion is on Blackberries as the communication method. In Dubai you can buy a Blackberry at a supermarket - all you need to do is provide a photocopy of an ID card to the sales agent (who is not a Dubai citizen and probably can't even speak Arabic) - huge room for fraud. And since Dubai can no longer know who owns what blackberries (or even who bought it) they are trying to crack it open.
Before that Dubai wanted to show itself as open and safe for business and blackberry-friendly. Now someone abused that so they are cracking down.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (4, Insightful)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480498)

Spoken like a true Arab Minister for Propaganda.

Step 1: Blame Israelis.

Step 2: Clamp down on your own citizens.

Step 3: Repeat.

Re:a system that pays attention to impenetrability (4, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480558)

As the GP pointed out, Israeli intelligence actually murdered people in Dubai. Given that, they do have a reason to be a bit wary of the risks posed.

OF course it is a nasty feudal dictatorship, with a modern gloss to hide its underlying backwardness, but it still has genuine enimies.

The west already wiretaps Blackberry emails (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480472)

Western intelligence services already have access to Blackberry servers - and had for years.

Beyond actual wiretap API interfaces provided by RIM there's also a net of broad packet-capture: as had been documented in detail here on Slashdot, AT&T had been running raw, spliced optical cables straight to the NSA headquarters since late 2001, carrying most of the raw IP traffic in the USA - including most unencrypted Blackberry emails as well.

Any new encrypted service that offers no access for intelligence and police you are hearing repeat stories about how they support terrorists or criminals - until they provide that access. (In most western countries companies are obliged to offer wire-tap access to authorities: Germany, UK and USA are amongst them)

The general public will rarely hear about actual usage of these broad wiretaps - as it's covered in secrecy with 'national security letters' and their legal equivalents.

While you might dismiss the UAE's concerns with "it's not a democracy", lets look at a similar case: India's problem with not being able to wiretap Blackberry phones - in the wake of the Bombay terrorist attacks that left 150+ people dead. (India's 911, so to speak.)

So how can we in the West deny India (the world's largest democracy) access to unencrypted Blackberry traffic for criminal, security and military reasons, without being hypocrites?

Conversely, how would western intelligence agencies react if Blackberry were run by an indian company and all the servers were in India, and India refused access to unencrypted emails?

Can you answer these questions fairly and consistently?

Is there anything special about RIM security? (2, Interesting)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480058)

What is so special about RIM security (speaking as a non-RIM user here...)?

If I have a Blackberry (or any smartphone, say Android or iPhone) don't I just point at a mail server with IMAP and pick up stuff with SSL/TLS? Are the "spies" so stupid that they wouldn't just point a a non RIM mail server?

And as mentioned above then you can start using PGP for the content as well.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480094)

Fortunately, most spies and terrs really are that stupid.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (2, Informative)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480102)

Another non-blackberry user here, but from what I understand, what they provide is something like PGP on top of mail; your message gets encrypted using a private/public key system such that it's not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, which SSL/TLS (https/imaps) can be susceptible to.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480118)

I believe how Blackberry email works is that *everything* goes through RIM's servers. You can't point it at a non-RIM server; at least not without some hacking.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (1)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480272)

I have managed a Blackberry Enterprise Server. I don't want to manage another one. It's weird and, as you say, you can't get control of everything without nontrivial hacking. That was the first thing I deeply disliked about it (there are more, but not relevant to this discussion).

If that architecture works for them, then good for them. However, I can understand that governments get pissed about it. Heck, even the (rest of the) US government was quite pissed when Obama stated he wouldn't give up on his Blackberry [cnn.com]

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (4, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480262)

the blackberry connects to RIM and RIM connects to your email, or if you are corporate the blackberry points to the corporate BES server, the link between the handset and RIM or between the handset and your company's BES server is heavilly encrypted, and in the case of BES servers even RIM cannot access the data, only your company's security staff and other authorized users, making it suitable for communicating confidential and trade secret information that a regular smartphone should not be handling. BES is also able to remotely control security settings and initiate a secure wipe.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480396)

Quality point to point encryption via Canada is the big seller.

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (2, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480420)

Also speaking as a non-RIM user:

does your phone warn you if you encounter a changed ssl certificate for the domain your mail client is connecting to?

Re:Is there anything special about RIM security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480616)

The concern is not about email, it as about Blackberry's encrypted instant messaging PIN service [wikipedia.org] . Every blackberry user has a unique 8 digit hexadecimal ID. If you know someone's PIN (and you generally do for your colleagues, because the global address book synchronization gives it to you) you can "pin" them directly and they get the message instantly WITHOUT it running over any email protocol or mail server.

I Know! (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480104)

The rulers of Dubai wants to know what the CEO of Haliburton [wikipedia.org] is doing.

Or they just want to be sure that its harder for the rest of the world find out about its dark side [independent.co.uk] .

Just as well I was already planing to never visit the place.

First... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480132)

First they came for the iPhones, and i did not do anything because I did not own one.

Then they came for my intenret and filtered. I did not do anything because I had Tor.

Then they came for Tor, but by now I had my Blackberry, because it is harder to crack.

Then they came for me, because I couldn't have a thought to myself, and there was no way to rally anon.

If only he knew. (4, Insightful)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480136)

It's

Re:If only he knew. (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480776)

Monty Python's Flying Circus?

Let's try this again. "If only he knew..." (2, Interesting)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480150)

It's practically a given that TEMPEST-like capabilities moved to satellites, decades ago. Combine that with ECHELON or something like it, and everything that everyone is displaying on their screens (Internet-connected or not) is probably being hoovered up by at least one intelligence agency. Including what's on the screens of those precious Blackberries.

Re:Let's try this again. "If only he knew..." (2, Informative)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480242)

TEMPEST at a few hundred feet is pretty remarkable... you think it can be done in a satellite 50 miles high? Plus there's considerations such as the van allen belt and the ionosphere acting upon wavelength propagation, never mind the noise and attenuation distortions wielded upon an 2GHz+ clock rate of a typical system bus, or voltage balanced and shielded video cables at such great distances.

Now if you're thinking about satellite sweeping for wifi or cellular then it would be almost a given and certainly has a precedent - but otherwise I'm unconvinced that something could filter though a trashheap of digital noise from that distance.

Re:Let's try this again. "If only he knew..." (1)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480486)

I need thicker tinfoil.

Re:Let's try this again. "If only he knew..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480532)

around your dick

One single mistake and BB/RIM will be doomed (5, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480164)

Everyone in civilized/democratic places, especially large businesses which are RIM's real market are watching these news.

If Blackberry is magically loved in those territories, it means they handed the keys to them and people will immediately think they are _already_ being watched for a long time.

I really think RIM should consider getting OUT of these markets instead of losing the image of secure communications. Once they lose it, it will be like a domino.

Look to Youtube, a certain country said "pull this video, pull that, setup office here, pay taxes". You know what Youtube did? Ignored! Don't they lose money/marketshare? Of course they do.

It is a closed system, that is where they lose. Nokia or Apple can say "hey, they are enabling SSL on IMAP, there is absolutely nothing we can do." RIM, as there is a central server, can't do it.

It is always and always about open standards.

Re:One single mistake and BB/RIM will be doomed (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480280)

i would rather see an option for handset to handset crypto, allow secure messages between non-BES handsets and handsets on different BES servers. they could use the barcode scan system that the latest version of BB messenger uses to add friends using the screen and camera

Re:One single mistake and BB/RIM will be doomed (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480386)

It is a closed system, that is where they lose. Nokia or Apple can say "hey, they are enabling SSL on IMAP, there is absolutely nothing we can do." RIM, as there is a central server, can't do it.

Good point. When one has a choice, better to put one's trust in an algorithm or design that is (apparently) secure, than a company that could be corrupted by governments, insiders, etc.

Re:One single mistake and BB/RIM will be doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480408)

Look to Youtube, a certain country said "pull this video, pull that, setup office here, pay taxes". You know what Youtube did? Ignored!

Youtube blocks a MASSIVE amount of videos for Germans because of the local rights-management scumbags GEMA (government-backed monopoly). Plus they are still negotiating over a fee per video. I wish they'd just ignore them but they caved to many of their demands.

Re:One single mistake and BB/RIM will be doomed (2, Informative)

mxs (42717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480762)

Look to Youtube, a certain country said "pull this video, pull that, setup office here, pay taxes". You know what Youtube did? Ignored! Don't they lose money/marketshare? Of course they do.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is simply not true. Try surfing YouTube in Germany, for instance. Lots and LOTS of videos are pulled or "not available in your country", they do pay out some local media conglomerates, and, guess what, Google has offices here too.

But a tool for whom (0, Redundant)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480202)

Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool

So the Blackberry is a spy tool for spies, right up until the police are allowed to use it as a tool to spy on people, then its an OK tool. Right?

Re:But a tool for whom (1)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480210)

Right, what they're really annoyed about is being left out of the spying loop.

Just mobile? What about internet? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480250)

https is a spy tool too? If i go with https to gmail, and post anything, unless they have a keylogger or something similar in whatever im using to access it, functionally are in the same situation. Worse, what about crypto tech? Tor?

quality of the tool depends on the user (2, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480284)

In the hands of a skilled person, including a skilled spy, anything can be useful for any purpose. Even a common orange has its place in a spy's toolkit. Do you really think that's chewing gum in his mouth?

Every tool has uses that conformists never ponder. Critical thinkers are already ahead of the curve of every government. Of course, no government is willing to admit it (out loud).

Big secrets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480302)

What's there to spy on in Dubai anyway? Just because they have a tall building, they think they're some hot sh*t world power or something.

POTUS uses a PDA (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480304)

Doesn't BHO have a custom BB that's had the security improved to meet special NSA requirements? Or would be now be using some other PDA?

I guess he'll no longer be able to take his BB with him to Dubai.

Re:POTUS uses a PDA (1)

threephaseboy (215589) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480742)

It's supposedly this thing [gdc4s.com]

Phoning it in (1)

sensationull (889870) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480334)

Damn, even the spys are just phoning it in now.

Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool (2, Funny)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480384)

Very well.

I call Dubai's police chief a Tool.

Dubai's Police Chief Calls BlackBerry a Spy Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480440)

Quote: "unless it gets access to encrypted data" Yes sure... If I go in Dubai, I'll be pleased that they have access to all my decrypted communication...

The real issue (4, Informative)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480476)

Dubai's police chief says concern over espionage (specifically, by the US and Israel) led to the decision to limit BlackBerry services.

Well of course he would say that. Despotic Arab regimes have always used the US and Israel as an excuse for their own totalitarianism and oppression of minorities.

The article details the real reason, as if it wasn't obvious:
Tamim told a conference on information technology that the proposed BlackBerry curbs are also "meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance,"

Translation: It promotes freedom of expression, and limits the government's ability to control its people, which frightens the shit out of Arab dictators.

To put it this way (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480494)

Say that there's a group of people connected to some country that is opposed to US and its interests. There's a fair amount of resentment towards the US and its culture, and the country isn't exactly known as peace-loving and dovish. These people could be semi-official (non-legal spies from their embassies), or they could be private people working for this country.

US intelligence people find out about these people, try to track them, see what they're up to. Unfortunately, a lot of their communication is going over heavily encrypted links, provided by a private company that also sells these devices in the US.

Now, would anybody be surprised or particularly upset if the US demanded access to encrypted communications from that private company or threaten to lose the US market if they don't comply?

A spy tool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480506)

For the UAE government. Yes. This "reasoning" is just so very believable. Why is it the stupid ones always end up in government? Don't answer that. Do something about it instead.

India (2, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480514)

Is it just me, or is it that since RIM's shown that they'd give ground to world governments (even if it's a face-saving maneuver, as some here have said), that everybody and their brother now wants access to their servers?

Nothing to do with it ... (5, Interesting)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480610)

Having spent a couple of years in the UAE back in the 90's, I can tell you the ban has NOTHING to do with spying, and everything to do with Etisalat (the national phone company) desire to control all aspects of IT in the country.

Years ago, at the advent of the mobile, you could get one (1) model of phone in Abu Dhabi ... the "Hud Hud 1" was the model name, I remember it fondly, with it's external antenna that almost took your eye out, and it's inability to hold a call for more than 5 minutes. You couldn't even use it indoors, I had to sit outside in the bloody desert with only camel spiders for company, to call my girlfriend who worked in Abu Dhabi city. Text hadn't even been invented, so it was calls only.

There was one (1) phone model, one (1) line provider, one (1) internet provider, one (1) e-mail service, and it was All Etisalat provided.

Now, 12 years, later, there is a few more phone models, but still only one (1) line provider, one (1) internet provider, one (1) e-mail service ... wanna take a guess who it is ?

Whichever of Sheikh Khalifa's brothers is running Etisalat doesn't want his business fucked up, and the possibility of anyone using IT without Etisalat getting their pound of flesh is unthinkable. THAT is why they are putting the screws on RIM.

Re:Nothing to do with it ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480706)

This might have been the case when you were there, but is not so any longer.

A few more phone models? More like any model you could find in the US/Europe. There are several phone/internet provider alternatives (the most popular alternative is "du").

UAE? (0, Offtopic)

schizz69 (1239560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480766)

Seriously? Isn't it time we boycotted these totalitarian regimes in the middle east? Freedom of speech? --- NO! Net neutrality? ---- NO! Freedom of expression? --- NO! Somber existence? --- NO! Pancakes for breakfast? ---- NO! Sex with my wife's sister? --- NO! Fun? --- NO! God bless the west!!!!
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