“A media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders has accused the United Arab Emirates of arresting people who used the popular BlackBerry device to organize a street protest against petrol price increases. The incident highlighted how governments around the world are increasingly using internet and mobile technology to undermine civil liberties.
Internet freedom activists say the Dubai episode is the latest incident in an alarming trend – that entire governments are censoring the internet.
“Increasingly, we see governments push businesses and ask them to take actions that actually assist in government surveillance and censorship,” Cynthia Wong said. “The way that companies decide to respond to these requests will have a huge impact on human rights.””
From The Voice of America
Posts tagged “UAE”
“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
Citizen Lab Director Professor Deibert has been interviewed by multiple international news agencies on the recent controversy surrounding BlackBerry services in the United Arab Emirates.
The following news sources feature Professor Deibert’s comments on the matter. He specifically comments on how the restrictions made by the United Arab Emirates are related to broader governmental fears of cyber security which exist internationally.
Citizen Lab media commentary can be found HERE.
CBC’s Matt Galloway spoke with Ron Deibert regarding the UAE threat to ban RIM products over national security concerns. Watch here .
“Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smart phone, faces increasing challenges to its overseas expansion as developing countries tighten restrictions on mobile e-mail.
‘It’s a reflection of fears of cyber-security and espionage that now extend to mobile phones,’ said Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, who helped colleagues uncover a plot against the Indian government that involved computers in China. ‘It’s the type of thing that will become more common for RIM as they grapple with public policy and ethical issues in emerging markets.'”
“The UAE’s BlackBerry ban drew condemnation from freedom monitors and the US government, but nothing from Canada, BlackBerry’s home country.
“I think this is a glaring absence and it’s part of a lamentable lack of attention this government has given to cyberspace,” says Ronald Deibert, director of The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.”
“The type of steps taken by the UAE are going to become more common in the future as governments struggle to gain control of cyberspace for national security reasons,” said Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.
“Just like Google has had to grapple with the pressures of China and other countries who censor search engines, RIM will find itself the centre of pressures from governments eager to tap encrypted mobile data streams.”
From The Globe and Mail
“Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry smartphones may be subject to monitoring in the United Arab Emirates if the government is able to bring communications by the handheld devices under emergency and security rules.
Blackberry devices, introduced in the U.A.E. in 2006, are not covered by the country’s 2007 Safety, Emergency and National Security rules, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.”