Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIM Co-CEO Cries 'No Fair' On Security Question

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-can't-ask-me-that dept.

Communications 329

bulled writes "When asked about letting governments in Asia and the Middle East into the 'secure' message service used by their BlackBerry devices, Mike Lazaridis, the co-chief executive of RIM, walked out of the interview and said, 'We've dealt with this, the question is no fair.' By 'dealt with,' we can only assume he meant: 'been paid handsomely to let governments read what they wish.'"

cancel ×

329 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

goatse g oatse go atse goa tse goat se goats e goa (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823578)

It's your right to walk away from an interview at any time. There's not even anything wrong with it unless you've specifically promised to answer all questions.

However, this was still pretty rude and even silly of him. Some choice information-poor statements would probably have been much more effective than this - now it's been on the Slashdot and more importantly on the BBC News front page. He could just as well have said "we're doing something shady you don't like."

Your take is jejune (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823744)

Well, sure. You have the right to walk away anytime. You have the right to walk out of class, out of work; unless you're in prison or the military, you always have the right to walk away.

But how can he not anticipate this question? Its been the number 1 question of RIM for the last 24 months, and he thinks its *unfair* he was asked about it?

He's either naive or an idiot. In either case, he was unprepared for an interview if he wasn't ready to talk about RIM's #1 issue.

If I was a major shareholder, he wouldn't impress me.

Re:Your take is jejune (5, Interesting)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823884)

But how can he not anticipate this question? Its been the number 1 question of RIM for the last 24 months, and he thinks its *unfair* he was asked about it? He's either naive or an idiot.

Another possibility is that he's very aware that this has been a hot issue and had an agreement with the interviewer not to go into that. Maybe that's what he meant by "We've dealt with this" i.e. "You and I had an agreement not to talk about this". Not saying that's what happened but I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Your take is jejune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824308)

If I was a major shareholder, he wouldn't impress me.

Agreed. He reminds me of Stephen Harper. Kind of looks like him too.

The fact is - RIM provides feds with a backdoor access to their customer's data, he's just not happy that in case with India and the Middle East, it came into the public spotlight. There is no way that UK and US didn't have this for a long time, after all it's a national security issue and Mr. President is a BlackBerry fanboy.

Wrong Job (5, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823908)

It's your right to walk away from an interview at any time.

True. However if you are the CEO of a major international corporation and you cannot handle a reasonable, politely asked question from a major international media organization you are in the wrong job.

Re:Wrong Job (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824288)

Actually CEO's are supposed to run companies - not do interviews.

Defending Satan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823930)

Most interviews give their subject a list of the questions which they will be subject to before they meet in front of a camera.

Perhaps the interviewer puilled this one out of thin air and blindsided the guy from RIM who didn't have a prepared answer.

Re:Defending Satan (3, Interesting)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824240)

Whilst this may be the case in the US (and I am not sure that it is) it is most certainly not the case at the BBC.

Interview subjects would never be given "a list of questions". They may be provided an overview or outline of the areas to be covered but a list of actual questions would not be provided.

IOW (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823586)

"It is not fair to ask us why we are putting our profits ahead of our customers' security needs."

Re:IOW (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823664)

All these comments about this are little bit childish.. Like "By dealt with, we can only assume he meant 'been paid handsomely to let governments read what they wish.'" what the hell, you probably know fully well what he means.

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job. It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same. It's the people in general who will need to deal with their governments, not some single random company that is just selling products for the market. Stop being childish and stop these immature comments. If you want, YOU go change those governments minds.

Re:IOW (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823764)

That's kind of what I thought. It seems that a large percentage of slashdotters would be satisfied if they pulled out of all the "oppressive regime" markets based on security concerns. In the rest of the business world, this would be the basis for shareholder lawsuits.

Re:IOW (3, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823834)

Why isn't the company that makes the lethal injection drug being sued by it's shareholders for not selling to the US, then?

don't get hung up on shareholder lawsuit fantasies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823988)

It isn't as simple as the "obligation to maximize shareholder profit regardless of ethics or human decency" anti-capitalists fantasize about.

It's really about conflict of interest. When the board manages the company for profit, it must be for the profit of all shareholders, not just for the majority that elected them (i.e. themselves). Otherwise a block that owns 51% of the shares could funnel all of the profits out for themselves with sweetheart deals and thinly-veiled gifts.

Ethical objections are a legally acceptable reason to pass up opportunities for profit.

Re:don't get hung up on shareholder lawsuit fantas (1)

Silvermistshadow (1943284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824134)

Let's see, so if I sell bananas, but someone in the US decides to use my bananas to kill someone, I should pull out of that market even if there are plenty of people who don't use bananas to kill people? Since when is making even more problems for people a good ethical stance?

Re:don't get hung up on shareholder lawsuit fantas (3, Insightful)

zonky (1153039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824152)

No, it's like you sell bananas, but the USA says you can't anymore unless you can tell the government how to remove the skin without the end user knowing. You damage the brand and the business model (security) by caving in.

Re:don't get hung up on shareholder lawsuit fantas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824294)

That's a hell of an irrelevant analogy for advertising secure private messaging and then quietly letting people listen in.

Re:IOW (5, Insightful)

MetalFingers (1952272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823832)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job.

They are providing a device which boasts security. It is precisely their job. Instead, they've provided the technology for a government to snoop on their citizens communications. Where do i begin with the issues there?

Re:IOW (-1, Troll)

Linegod (9952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823874)

They have not provided the governments with the ability to snoop on their citizens communications.

Like Lazaridis, I tire of this ignorance.

Re:IOW (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823916)

They have not provided the governments with the ability to snoop on their citizens communications.

Then why were his final words "These are national security issues. Turn that thing off."?

If you're so sure, Linegod (9952), please tell us how you know.
Difficulty: No referring to RIM/foreign government press releases &/or articles based on those press releases.

Re:IOW (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824462)

FFS, this keeps happening over and over again. RIM publishes and uses standard encryption between their BES software and the endpoint phones. It is impossible for RIM to give the government access. Just like any other encryption, if the government wants access to that content, they have to go to the BES owner/company to get those keys.

This is why the US government feels comfortable using Blackberry and BES.

Secondly, that wasn't the issue in those cases. For IM systems like MSN, Yahoo, AIM etc.. that stuff is already in the clear. Android, IOS, symbian, whatever other phones are out there are not as secure as Blackberry is out of the box with their consumer services. Blackberries have security built into everything except SMS/MMS and phone calls. That makes blackberries MORE secure than anything else on the market. The complaint from these countries was that all the browsing, IM, and everything else regular, non-enterprise customers use the phone for couldn't be monitored - unlike every other phone on the market. And the laws of each country have requirements about access to information in "national security" or whatever cases.

So for gods sake can we get this stupid idea out of our heads that somehow these countries are beating on RIM and not Android or IOS just because they can? How long do you think these countries got told "tough shit" until they threatened, publicly, to shut down blackberry services for their entire country?

I promise you, if RIM is evil for complying with local laws, the fact that you're even reading about it says something about them.

Re:IOW (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823980)

If so, then why didn't he just say that he can assure all users in Middle East that they are at least as secure using RIM products as they are using competition's products?

Really, this whole thing should have been a very easy question to answer, but it was the CEO who blew it out of proportion all of a sudden. Why?

Re:IOW (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824442)

Of all the dumb statements I've seen over the years on Slashdot, this is about the most ignorant ever. And that's really saying something.

Re:IOW (5, Insightful)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823888)

It's probably more fair to say, "They were given the choice to provided the technology for a government to snoop on their citizens communications, or suspend business in that governments jurisdiction." Sounds like chasing the dollar at the expense of their core competency to me.

Especially given economic espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824554)

Worldwide, a major focus, often the primary focus, of national intelligence services is economic espionage.

What is that foreign company's real negotiating position? What is that favored company's competitor's bid, technology? And so forth.

RIM still tells international business it's secure. And then whines at the BBC, don't you call us not secure, merely because a large and growing portion of our customer's threat envelope is bare ass and blowing the breeze. We're still "secure". For some increasingly worthless definition of secure. And we don't like to talk about it.

Re:IOW (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823846)

The USA has courts, due process, and checks and balances. The middle east, not so much.

Re:IOW (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823890)

The USA has courts, due process, and checks and balances. The middle east, not so much.

USA is a nation, the middle east is a geographical region. Geographical regions does not have courts and such. Nations do.

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824342)

The USA has courts, due process, and checks and balances.

That's right, it's a pity they are not being used when they are needed.

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824524)

In the US, the letter of the law is almost always up for interpretation.

Due process? How much process is due? You'd have to be blind to see that it all depends on how much you're worth and who it is you know. And sure, we have checks and balances. Our nation is awesome at writing checks, leaving us with a negative balance.

Oh, I'm not saying the US has presently descended quite to the depths of religion-fueled idiocy that various Middle Eastern countries have - not yet at least, but trying to impugn an entire swath of the world by holding up our own problem-ridden system is laughable. To put it simply, if the CIA knocked on RIM's door and said, "Sup, bitches? About that access...", RIM would have nothing to say.

Re:IOW (5, Insightful)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823850)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job. It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same. It's the people in general who will need to deal with their governments, not some single random company that is just selling products for the market. Stop being childish and stop these immature comments. If you want, YOU go change those governments minds.

Correct, it is not RIM's job to oppose shit governments. However, it IS RIM's job to tell you exactly what they are selling to you and this includes security implications. Failing to answer a simple question doesn't bode well on that front.

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823862)

That's not true at all. There IS something they can do about it, they can say "No you can't have access to user data" or they can grant access. They made a choice. No one forced them to implement the technological backdoor, they made a business decision to do so. It IS their job to make business decisions.

We as consumers are equally fortunate when dealing with companies. We get choices too. It IS our right to ask if companies take our privacy seriously. And it IS our choice to not do business with them if they do not. No one forces us to to do business with a company who choose to 'play ball' with a government request for a back door in exchange for the opportunity to /try/ and sell us goods and services.

There's nothing childish or immature about observing RIM would rather take government $ or expand their market than protect the security of their end user data. They made a business decision and we, as consumers, get to make purchasing decisions. You may not like the tone of the informational observation, but it's not childish to point out that a. RIM is concerned about the problem to such an extent that they will walk out of an interview questioning them about their policy and b. we as consumers should understand just where that puts us on the food chain with regards to RIM's business model.

Re:IOW (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824232)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job. It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same. It's the people in general who will need to deal with their governments, not some single random company that is just selling products for the market. Stop being childish and stop these immature comments. If you want, YOU go change those governments minds.

You are right that in the end, its not their job, but security and privacy has been one of their central claims for years and years. They have in the past made promises they they couldn't keep. These days are quietly backing off of these claims, you no longer see them, and are just like any other smartphone provider.

Tthey are starting to put the proper perspective on it, buried deep in their FAQ [blackberry.com] :

Is it necessary to use S/MIME or PGP to make the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution secure?

All messages sent between BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server are encrypted. However, once a message goes to the mail server outside the corporate firewall, it’s sent over the Internet. This is exactly what happens when you send an unencrypted message from a desktop or laptop computer.

The S/MIME and PGP solutions provide sender-to-recipient security from the moment a message leaves a BlackBerry smartphone to the moment it reaches its destination. This ensures the message can’t be read or modified anywhere along the way.

Note that even the above is not technically true once you leave your campus.

In the real world, this is the responsibility of the end-user. If Mr. Traveling Businessman doesn't know enough to use a mailer with PGP then he shouldn't be trusted with anything secret.

Re:IOW (1)

tomthepom (314977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824260)

It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same.

If? Seriously?

Re:IOW (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824326)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job. It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same. It's the people in general who will need to deal with their governments, not some single random company that is just selling products for the market. Stop being childish and stop these immature comments. If you want, YOU go change those governments minds.

I understand what you're saying, but it would be very refreshing to see a major company say something like "We are ceasing operations in country X because we are refusing to sacrifice the security of our customers." I mean, that's not exactly terrible for your reputation as a company, especially when you advertise security. I don't ever remember seeing that happen though. Google comes pretty close with China, but not quite.

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824474)

it would be very refreshing to see a major company say something like "We are ceasing operations in country X because we are refusing to sacrifice the security of our customers." I mean, that's not exactly terrible for your reputation as a company, especially when you advertise security.

Great idea and all, but keep in mind the country in question: India has more than twice the population of North America, and in fact more then both North and South America combined. it's nice and all to think that in the long term it'd be a great PR campaign IF the people of India feel that what they lost required them to rise up and force their government to change the laws and allow RIM back into the nation at a later date,

But there's NOTHING saying that they want that change at this time. It's their law, and few seem to be opposing it. A company can only "tough it out" so long until they can't afford to stick around.

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824394)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job. It's not like they would be able to fight it if USA was the same.

What makes you think it's *not* the same in the USA? Do you really think we give China, Iran, and tin-pot dictatorships access to the *best* surveillance infrastructure that Western companies can develop?

(Hey, Mr. CEO wanted a question he hasn't addressed. Those two oughta do it.)

Re:IOW (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824434)

human rights > profits.

sorry, but you are just wrong.

Re:IOW (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824446)

"Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job." Actually they have the right to say no.

Re:IOW (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824546)

Look, there's nothing Blackberry can do about it and it's not their job.

They are doing bad things. If they are required to do those bad things by governments in exchange for being allowed into the market, then they are doing evil for profit. They can stop at any time. However, that would negatively affect profits. "There's nothing they can do about it" is simply false. They can fail to agree to opening up their networks to everyone who asks. It's quick. It's simple. And it fixes the problem. No need to change any government's minds.

Legitimate question (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823588)

Sounds like he was taking exception with the wording of the question, but it's a real issue and it affects a lot of people. Including the leaders, celebrities, and teenagers who need to know if their government is reading their email.

Re:Legitimate question (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823702)

Some questions really arent fair. Yes or No questions that imply things, for instance.

Were you raping that underage transvestite midget crack whore last night?

So you are saying that it wasnt rape.

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823784)

Does your mother know you're gay?

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823894)

Yes. She first clued in when caught me sucking my father's dick.

Re:Legitimate question (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823932)

No just that I wasn't doing the raping. Get off my case man.

Re:Legitimate question (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824178)

Instead of walking out, he could have replied with a "no comment" or "I've addressed that question already" and ask to move on. The Co-CEO got very defensive and ended the interview. If you're the head of a major corporation, you're going to have to field tough questions at times. Some of them might not be fair. But that's why they are supposed to get the big bucks.

Re:Legitimate question (2)

Adam Appel (1991764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824310)

Called a double binding question. By answering it, you are agreeing to the first part. Those questions are not fair, I also submit neither is enabling governments to read my customers email. Thank god I don't have to make those decisions or be in interviews.

Re:Legitimate question (1)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824374)

Yes.

I mean NO.

Wait.

I meant YES.

Oh I don't know anymore!

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824382)

The "negative pregnant" is easily answered. Don't say "yes" or "no." Instead say something like:

I wasn't ever with an underage transvestite midget crack whore.

And anyway the point you failed to make is moot. The question asked in the interview wasn't a negative pregnant. It was directly pertinent to their offerings and how they advertise those offerings.

"No fair"? (5, Insightful)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823618)

I think we can safely assume that Blackberry is about as secure as a wet paper bag in countries where the device has become "commercially successful" and the government is less than interested in maintaining privacy.

Mentioining "national security" at the end of the video is a clear sign that RIM has well and truly given in on their claims of absolute security for the sake of maintaining a moderately-successful business.

Never trust the security of communications where the keys are being handled by someone outside your organisation.

Re:"No fair"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823658)

Ya, the nail in the coffin for that interview was when Lazardis cried (for the sake of...) "national security"! wtf

Re:"No fair"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823670)

To be fair, the POINT of BES is that the keys ARE HANDLED by YOUR organization.

Re:"No fair"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824440)

I think we can safely assume that Blackberry is about as secure as a wet paper bag

Only BIS and only for in-flight data (data on the BB is encrypted), or no less secure than using a standard wired connection in those countries.
BES is end-to-end encrypted with keys RIM (and the local despot) don't have access to... so barring the wrench treatment [xkcd.com] there's no way to compromise your data either in-flight or at rest.

If you're really paranoid, you can always run your own BES (for free [*] [blackberry.com] ).
[*] BES service plan from wireless provider required.

whats not fair (4, Insightful)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823666)

whats not fair is RIM backdooring their product to appease third word oppressive regimes.

Re:whats not fair (0, Troll)

Linegod (9952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823820)

They didn't. Prove it or shut up.

Re:whats not fair (5, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824116)

whats not fair is RIM backdooring their product to appease third word oppressive regimes.

They didn't. Prove it or shut up.

Uh, yeah [v3.co.uk] . They did [engadget.com] .

Re:whats not fair (1)

jjetson (2041488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824336)

engadget: How does setting up a server inside the country prove they backdoored the product? The encryption keys are held by the corporation. If you're trying to say RIM is decrypting the data and handing it over to the government, they could have done that from servers in Canada. Or even better just show the government how to do it if thats the case. The data has to go through hops in that country. If you're talking about BIS and not BES, you'd be surprised to learn that most of the data is not encrypted at all. v3: This says they're in talks with the government, but again the corporation has the keys so this article is just as meaningless as the second one.

Re:whats not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824408)

Let's not forget the UAE update that was sent out that was pretty much spyware.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/14/blackberry_snooping/

Re:whats not fair (1)

jjetson (2041488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824464)

"Sent out as a WAP Push message". Anyone can push WAP messages...concluding that this was RIM is ridiculous.

Re:whats not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824016)

whats not fair is RIM backdooring their product to appease third word oppressive regimes.

Stop with your false accusations! This isn't about them creating back doors for people to snoop through. This is about the US law that makes it illegal to sell certain encryptiom/security features outside the country. They are not doing anything unethical here... they're selling the best security they can legally export. All this bullshit speculation about backdoors is nonsense.

Re:whats not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824470)

They're not a US company, you moron.

Re:whats not fair (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824582)

isn;t RIM a canadian company ???
Why should US law apply if they're technically exporting from canada ???

You made your bed, now lie in it. (5, Insightful)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823674)

You can't advertise a service or a device as being secure, and then sell the keys to the locks to the highest bidder. Fuck RIM. I hope they burn. My wife wanted a blackberry on this last go round of upgrades. Nope.

Re:You made your bed, now lie in it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823756)

Considering RIM doesn't have the keys...the corporations do. I have a difficult time believing they sold them. Where exactly did you get the information that they sold them?

Re:You made your bed, now lie in it. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824368)

My wife wanted a blackberry on this last go round of upgrades. Nope.

Just out of curiosity, what did she get instead?

mhmm... (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823704)

Goes to show that if you want security, use something you control. I don't want any government or corporation (benevolent or otherwise) with keys to my data.

There's just way too much room for abuse. You have to assume anything that a third party has keys to isn't secure.

Re:mhmm... (1)

jjetson (2041488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824022)

RIM doesn't have corporate encryption keys, so I'm not sure where you're going with this. BlackBerry's are setup by the company directly with the BES without help from RIM. Where RIM comes in is a a middle man between the BES and BlackBerry. The scenario is as follows: BES Connects to RIM, BlackBerry Connects to RIM, BES can now communication through RIM servers with the BlackBerry as long as it has been set up with the BES by the company. The traffic is encrypted and RIM doesn't have the keys. Who is this 3rd party you speak of with keys to the data?

Re:mhmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824526)

You keep telling yourself that traffic passing through RIMs servers doesn't get read, written, unencrypted, whatever by RIM. And the governments that demand access in order to do business in their countries.

Maybe you'll get a unicorn too.

So...because he doesn't like the word.... (3, Interesting)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823706)

He'll just avoid the whole question. Instead of, perhaps, explaining why the word used was unfair, and what was being done about the situation.

Guess it's easier to just whine like a little kid about things being unfair, and when that didn't work, to pull out the "national security" trump card.

Not that I was seriously considering a blackberry, but there's no way I'll buy anything from RIM now. I don't like whiners.

Idiot (4, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823728)

Disclaimer: I'm Canadian but I own an iPhone, not a Blackberry. I saw the clip previously and didn't even know what he was talking about, and just thought it was exceptionally bad manners to walk out of a BBC interview. Now that I know that the question was about allowing foreign governments spy on foreign citizens, I find his response even more rude. Answer the damn question, man. If you are ashamed of what your company is doing then maybe you should find another job.

So what (0)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823760)

Honestly, if you're angry because RIM, or Google, or Microsoft, or whoever isn't trying to stick it to every dictatorship, you're an idiot. If the US government goes and tries to say a dictator is being too mean (perhaps by killing them), they're the terrible World Police. But if RIM refuses to do the same thing, you get angry. You're an angry, fickle group of people. Mod down if you disagree.

Re:So what (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823866)

Honestly, if you're angry because RIM, or Google, or Microsoft, or whoever isn't trying to stick it to every dictatorship, you're an idiot. If the US government goes and tries to say a dictator is being too mean (perhaps by killing them), they're the terrible World Police. But if RIM refuses to do the same thing, you get angry. You're an angry, fickle group of people. Mod down if you disagree.

I don't disagree, but the issue should be addressed. If he was asked a question like that there are much better responses, such as explaining the circumstances they are under, explaining that for whatever reason you are unable to comment on that issue at that time, whatever. Calling a reasonable and important question "unfair" is just silly and has lost even more of my respect for the company.

Re:So what (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824004)

In this case, people aren't angry by the fact that RIM chose (it's a choice; the other option is to cease doing business in the respective countries) to cooperate with authoritarian regimes, but rather by the fact that their CEO does not, apparently, have the balls to admit that they do, and just cries "unfair!" when asked a straightforward question.

Re:So what (5, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824200)

Honestly, if you're angry because RIM, or Google, or Microsoft, or whoever isn't trying to stick it to every dictatorship, you're an idiot. If the US government goes and tries to say a dictator is being too mean (perhaps by killing them), they're the terrible World Police. But if RIM refuses to do the same thing, you get angry. You're an angry, fickle group of people.

RIM is Canadian. I'm Canadian. Canadians don't do the World Police thing. Canadians do the Constable Rescuing the Kitten thing. Now, in this case, RIM is rescuing the kitten, then selling it to the dodgy-looking restaurant on the corner. We Canadians don't like that.

Worse, by walking out on the BBC (the BBC!) they're acting impolitely. In Canada, acting impolitely results in terrible punishment.... Well actually, it mostly just results in frosty stares - we're too polite to actually punish someone. But those stares, man - we can stare frostier than just about anyone. Except the Russians. The Russians are pretty frosty starers. And the Swedes. Their stare is actually known as The Frost.

Mod down if you disagree.

That would be rude and unfair. As a Canadian, I'd much prefer to tell you to take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut instead. I'd prefer it, but as a Canadian, I'm limited to suggesting that you kindly launch yourself toward that fallen dessert and embrace it with passion and vigour.

... And have a nice day!

Come on, people, think (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823802)

The question is "no fair" because it's singling them out as if they are any different than Google, Yahoo, or ANY COMPANY operating within a national boundary. Every company is bound to the laws of the nation in which it operates.

It's also "no fair" because it's misleading: it makes it sound as if the chinese and some of those other "evil" nations are the only ones reading people's private communications. The only differnce between the chinese and the US is the chinese have laws clearly stating their objective, and the us operates within the shadowy realm of "well, if there's no law against it..."

Re:Come on, people, think (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824318)

Twitter has stood up against government requests, so has Google, hell even SBC/AT&T. Not every company has a policy of caving.

Re:Come on, people, think (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824500)

you mean, that you're aware of or that you're told.

I'm serious.

privacy was a thing of last century. sad but that horse has left the barn. the current generation will grow up knowing that things they say over the phone or email, even inside their own country are 'fair game' if the gov wants to snoop.

even the notion of 'hey, this is my private journal! no one is supposed to read this but me!' is now long, long gone. if its electronic, its fair game to the feds (any feds, any country; this isn't about the US or any one country anymore. its about human nature.) even if you want to write for creative exercise, you have to *think* about things you write and where they might end up, especially if out of context. in summary, the chilling effect is starting to take strong hold.

I used to like the ability to have private communications. I'm sorry to say goodbye to it, and I'm hoping to delay its demise for as long as possible.

Re:Come on, people, think (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824504)

The law against it is the Constitution.

Let's be professionals, people (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823810)

The RIM CEO called an end to an interview when he realized (after a minute and a half) that he was just being ambushed with a combative line of questioning. The interviewer had no interest in him answering the questions, he just wanted to make the CEO look bad in order to get ratings. This is, unfortunately or fortunately, rather common in british television. But in this case, it does seem genuinely unfair.

The interviewer knows that governments demand access to people's communications. All American telcos give call logs and e-mail histories pretty regularly to the government. Same with British ones. In this case, *we* don't trust the Saudi's with our communications, yet we somehow trust the US government with them.

Blackberry spent a lot of money building up a successful business in the middle east. Then they had to take their entire business offline while they added these backdoors for the government. When the king holds your entire business for ransom, with the requirement that you do for them what you do for every other government out there, you do it. Whining and complaining about RIM's "security problems" is just childish. And ambushing the CEO on film in an attack segment to make him look bad for something that he, and everyone else was forced to do, is definitely not fair.

Re:Let's be professionals, people (0)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823868)

The word ambush seems to be about right.
 
Usually for this kind of interviews, both parties agree on a set of topics they are about to discuss. In this case it appears to be the CEO demoing the newest tablet.
 
He probably was not expecting that question at all, so he got offended, and left.
 
Imagine your future mother-in-law asked you over for a BBQ, and when you start roasting, she suddenly asks you about your past sex lives. Yes she has every reasons to ask (for the sake of her daughter's well being), but that doesn't make it any less rude.

Re:Let's be professionals, people (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824430)

Imagine your future mother-in-law asked you over for a BBQ, and when you start roasting, she suddenly asks you about your past sex lives. Yes she has every reasons to ask (for the sake of her daughter's well being), but that doesn't make it any less rude.

Just politely reply with a story about that awesome threesome you had with her daughter and her best friend, the one that used to come over for sleepovers all the time, and the girl on girl show they gave you that night. She'll soon learn what questions not to ask.

Re:Let's be professionals, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823914)

This is, unfortunately or fortunately, rather common in british television.

It's like that here in the US and probably every other country on the planet - all thanks to big gigantic media corporations and the morons who give them an audience.

And people think I'm wierd for getting rid of the TV.

Excuse me fucking moron. (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823918)

When the king holds your entire business for ransom, with the requirement that you do for them what you do for every other government out there, you do it. Whining and complaining about RIM's "security problems" is just childish.

what the fuck does the above even BEGIN to mean ?

so, if a king holds your business ransom, you can do ANYthing, and its ok, and those who question unethical doings, are 'childish' ?

'whine' word usage is attention-catching there. so, now when someone complains about unethical dealings of a 'business', it becomes a whine ?

what kind of fucked up reasoning is that ?

really. are you a fucking moron, or a troll ?

no, no, dont excuse the rough language. since you shattered the barrier to ethics on grounds of 'business needs', i had had taken the liberty of shattering the barrier to ethics of civil correspondence, on a random ground of my choosing.

Re:Excuse me fucking moron. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824082)

If you're going to do business in his kingdom, you do what the king says. No different here in the US. If the government decided they wanted the same access, you either give it to them, or quit doing business here.

It is "whining" to complain about something that RIM can't change. I'm sure they rather keep their phones secure, but they also like to be able to do business in those countries. If the people of those countries don't like it, then its up to them to get the laws changed.

So it is "childish" to bitch and moan about RIM having to follow the law in countries they do business in. If you don't like, then don't live in one of those countries, or find another means of communication.

Re:Excuse me fucking moron. (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824482)

So it is "childish" to bitch and moan about RIM having to follow the law in countries they do business in.

Actually, I think it's perfectly acceptable to criticize the choice that was made to sacrifice your core principles in order to do business in a certain country. I know it's against the norm, but a company is not completely bound and obligated to increase profits at every expense. It is reasonable for a business to refuse to sacrifice their core principals in exchange for access to a certain market. And frankly, I think it's "childish" to just dismiss the criticism of companies which make the choice to sacrifice their principals. Where do you draw the line? How much sacrifice is too much? If it's OK for them to open their data up to India, is it also OK to allow the US government to monitor all phone calls, SMS and MMS messages, internet traffic, and email sent to or from a device? Where exactly do you think the line is before it becomes too much?

Re:Let's be professionals, people (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823934)

The RIM CEO called an end to an interview when he realized (after a minute and a half) that he was just being ambushed with a combative line of questioning. The interviewer had no interest in him answering the questions, he just wanted to make the CEO look bad in order to get ratings. This is, unfortunately or fortunately, rather common in british television.

I respect British Journalists far more than I respect American ones because the Brits are always willing to go into interviews and hammer away at uncomfortable questions.

I enjoy watching the Q&A sessions in Parliment for much the same reasons.

But in this case, it does seem genuinely unfair.

Asking for the truth is never unfair.

When the king holds your entire business for ransom, with the requirement that you do for them what you do for every other government out there, you do it. Whining and complaining about RIM's "security problems" is just childish.

Time and time again the western world has been bitten in the ass by what it has enabled in developing nations.
Complaints about Western companies enabling repressive governments is not "childish"

Re:Let's be professionals, people (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824378)

I definitely think the British system of asking hard questions is usually superior to the American system of being desperately afraid of offending their guests. But in this case, it was clearly framed in a sensationalist and unfair way.

Complaints about Western companies enabling repressive governments is completely legitimate. If the interviewer had asked "How do you plan on guaranteeing privacy to your customers in the territories that have demanded universal access?" that might be legitimate. If the interviewer initiated a legitimate discussion about the requirements of balancing customer and government requirements in oppressive regimes, it would have been a great segment.

That's not what the interviewer asked. The interviewer asked, for a minute and a half, over and over in a hostile cross-examination fashion, if they were going to fix their "security problems." And all of the comments here are along the line of "RIM decided to screw their customers for massive piles of cash!" That's not a discussion, and that's not adding anything to the overall knowledge pool.

Ridiculous last sentence (2)

skomes (868255) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823842)

Does the person posting this really think that RIM is happy to hand over data to foreign governments? They make their money off of business users who will not be happy about this change. They simply have no choice when governments say give us access or we will ban you. I don't know hope anybody could think that it is in RIM's business interests to make its valuable business customers' data available to foreign governments.

They are happy ffs. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823886)

Since they are still doing business, they are happy.

Co-CEO is right to walk out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823952)

For once, I will go against the flow and defend the big guy.

The fact is governments want the ability to wiretap data or voice. With Blackberry, they could not do it because data travels encrypted from the device to BBs servers in Canada. They asked Blackberry to provide the means, and Blackberry complied by granting (limited) access to the encryption key.

Why is that different than with Windows Phones, Android or iPhones?
Well, the difference is that with this other platforms, governments don't need the encryption key. The data is already on the clear.

The unfair question is to suggest that Blackberry has a security problem to allow governments access to data, when all other platforms allow access to data to governments, operators, ISPs and everyone in between.

Re:Co-CEO is right to walk out (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824094)

If all of the above is true, why the hell didn't he say so? Walking out of the interview just makes people think that he's got something to hide, or that he's a petulant asshole (I'm thinking both).

It has been spoken to death. (1)

Thomas Charron (1485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823956)

It's been spoken to ad naseum. Let them in, or be locked out. They chose to stay in. It's not like people there don't KNOW it isn't secure. It would be different if they where doing this without any sort of notice to the users.

A national security issue (2)

DeathSquid (937219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824034)

His statement at the end of "this is a national security issue, turn that off" is the obvious smoking gun. This strongly suggests RIM are providing backdoors for Saudi and Indian governments (otherwise he could have just said they weren't), and clearly RIM either do not want to talk about it (or are legally enjoined from doing so).

In some sense, the CEO is being honest. He could have just denied it was happening. So kudos to him.

But the problem runs deeper. Saudi, for instance, has a corrupt government with a history of human right abuses. People could end up being tortured or killed for exercising what we regard as basic human rights, just because they trust RIM's platitudes about privacy. This creates a strong ethical obligation to ensure that these people know that their communications are subject to government intercept. I personally think RIM could and should do more.

Turn this around on the BBC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824036)

If he'd been expecting it then maybe he could have given an answer like, "So why isn't the BBC reporting from inside North Korea? Oh, that's right, because it's against the local laws to do so."

This was pathetic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824104)

Fail. That was laughable. He never once countered any claims of RIM having security issues, just got defensive. Whether you've been "singled out" or not, if you have a security problem, you have it. If you don't , you don't.

When he was asked if he could confidently tell users in the middle east that their data was safe, and responded by stating only that the interview was over, that was a pretty big signal.

Re:This was pathetic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824164)

Also, in response to those claiming that the interview was an ambush, which seems about right;

Whether or not Mike was being ambushed, the proper thing to do would be to say what the situation IS. If RIM doesn't have a security problem, what does it have? Is it letting governments read messages because the government is asking according to their own laws? In that case, he should say that, as the interviewer is spreading false information. The problem is not one of security, but one of customer's expecting something RIM cannot legally provide. If the government is getting the messages without RIMs or the law's say-so, then its a security issue.

Essentially, if RIM is not having data taken from them, and they are only providing data to the government in accordance with the law, he should have said that, making the reviewer look stupid and ensuring any customers who see the interview get his side of it as well. Instead, he now seems to be running from the truth of the interviewers' statements.

Big deal (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824120)

The Blackberry's claim to fame in the corporate world is their willingness to hand back office operations over to its corporate customers. RIM can't read this data. It just passes it on to the appropriate server. Only personal Blackberrys use RIM servers (where the data presumably can be read). Data from corporate devices can be read by their respective back office IT staff (and frequently is).

Foreign countries can act just act like corporations. If they want to read the data, they can operate their own back end servers and RIM just hands them the traffic. As long as citizens of a country understand who it is that handles their e-mail, they can decide whether they want to send it or not. If RIM is approached by a gov't for data access, they should just hand the server function over to them, tell the customers who they are dealing with and step away.

If the people don't like the way their gov't treats their rights to privacy, they can revolt. We'll provide air cover.

There's another way to look at this... (2)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824126)

Honestly, now, let's just play the devil's advocate here.

Everyone knows now that RIM allows middle eastern governments to read whatever. Maybe that admission isn't such a bad thing- I mean, it's disclosure and it's honest. They're being open and honest about potential issues with their service, therefore allowing their customers to make an informed choice.

I mean, who would you rather trust? Company A, who says "Yes, with proper warrants and the like, your government- the one you chose either by democratic process or by inaction against tyranny- can read whatever they want. They have to ask us to provide it and we do. This means if you're planning to assassinate the King of Unspecifiedistan, it's probably not a good idea to SMS it to your friend, since you'll go to prison in short order."

Or Company B, who says, "Nope! Our stuff is 100% secure. Completely safe. No security holes exist now, nor will they ever. Your secrets are safe from the government if you give them to us! If you wanna shoot the King of Unspecifiedistan, this is the place to yak on about it!"

Let's be real about this for just one second. RIM is a very (very) large company with a huge legal team and a vested interest in their customers privacy, yet the governments in question still got to them.

Do you honestly think that other (smaller) companies haven't got equally bad, or worse, backdoors in their systems?

And if you acknowledge that fact... where would you rather make sensitive communications? On a very crowded, very busy, large network which presumably has millions of messages to filter- where one single message might slip through the cracks, or be accidentally labelled a false positive... or a much smaller network without such a (presumably) unwieldy system?

When did you stop beating your wife? (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824180)

By dealt with, we can only assume he meant 'been paid handsomely to let governments read what they wish.'"

Tell me why you get to assume that.

RISM (1)

theBully (1056930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824356)

Research In (Slow) Motion is dramatically loosing market because their technology is getting old and obsolete. Can't believe you still need an "enterprise server" to get connected to MS Exchange these days. Well, it's out of my company simply because it's easier and cheaper to just get Android devices and not host a server for that purpose. The server was also kinda' buggy. Under the circumstances it's understandable why they need to make such compromises to get into some new markets. Crazy enough governments may just ban any other device from their countries if BBs allow them to eavesdrop on their citizens.

Security versus Profit (1)

theamarand (794542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824410)

The main thing to remember is that this is a government, or two, asking for this information - not another company.

I'd be FURIOUS if Blackberry opened any of my information up to a third-party without my consent, and I would expect all subscribers to feel the same way. But a government? They have the laws and the weapons. The only option would be to simply remove their product/service from the countries asking; which is lunacy.

Best to use your own encryption, if your privacy matters that much to you, and encrypt everything you send, so it's all equally important.

A Lizard Is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824530)

Lazaridis

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?