RIM talks tough as Canadian government, media back BlackBerry (Lead)

August 6th, 2010 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Aug 6 (IANS) The Canadian government and media have fully backed the security features of BlackBerry that have concerned countries like India, UAE and Saudi Arabia, even as the chief of its developer-company stood firm on his stand and said the device was being unfairly targeted.

“Our government will be standing up for Research in Motion (RIM) as a Canadian company and the BlackBerry,” Canada’s International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said, even asking the company not to dilute its security features.

“We always do stand up for Canadian companies doing business abroad when they run into these kind of challenges,” Loan was quoted as saying by Dow Jones, adding: “Research in Motion should continue to stand strong in the face of such pressure.”

The Canadian media also got into the act and even went on to question the human rights records of some countries that have proposed to ban BlackBerry devices if access to its encrypted data sent or received on them is denied when asked.

The Globe and mail said if a government gets access to e-mails and SMS messages to look for suspected terrorists, it will then start tracking suspected dissidents as well. “Research in Motion cannot permit that.”

The comments appear to have prompted the Canadian firm to toughen its stand with chief executive Mike Lazaridis saying people who want to gain access to coded messages sent via BlackBerry needed lessons about the internet.

“This is about the internet. Everything on the internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can’t deal with the internet then they should shut it off,” he said.

“But we are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the internet. A lot of these people don’t have Ph.Ds, and they don’t have a degree in computer science,” said Lazaridis.

The company chief, nevertheless, said Research in Motion will have to cooperate with authorities if it was handed a court order to do a lawful intercept of a person’s communications.

“I would give them the encrypted stream. It would have to be like a wiretap.”

He also said the company was trying to convince people that internet requires secure communications. “We have dealt with this before. This will get resolved. And it will get resolved if there is a chance for rational discussion.”

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