“They tried to sneak it in, and got caught,” said Theodore Karasik, director of research and development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai of UAE’s past attempts to hack the BlackBerry as part of a broad campaign to improve intelligence. “Now they’re going the opposite way, just declaring what they need.”

Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, is a case study in the need for such surveillance. In the same way that Vienna served as a waypoint for rogues from all sides of the world wars, this desert city has now become a den of intrigue about the Middle East and South Asia. According to local analysis the Arab states are only demanding the same surveillance capacity thought to be already available to several other countries, suh as Russia, China and the United States.

Some described the issue as a matter of national pride for the United Arab Emirates.

“RIM succumbed to so many other countries, so why not ours?” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a politics professor at Emirates University. “It’s about double standards. We’re a booming economy, an important market, and the Canadians should respect us.”

From The Globe and Mail