Cultural Interface :

US Secretary of State to Negotiate with RIM and UAE

Early in the last century phosphate deposits were important, later countries were undermined for their copper and we all still fight over oil. No one is fighting over the Internet and telecommunications yet but it amplifies the importance of these technologies that the Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Clinton, would weigh into the disagreement between Research in Motion and the United Arab Emirates over the Blackberry.

She will have her work cut for her there is growing list of countries who wish to monitor and thus undermine the private security of the Blackberry service. More on this, “The Cultural Interface: RIM Roars, Will the Autocrats Flinch?” Secretary Clinton is also up against the fact that each region that RIM operates in has avery different concept of human rights, national security and social acceptability. Remember, this argument is not just about the desire for authorities to monitor possible criminal activity but to control the possible viewing of material these states find morally and socially objectionable.

Secretary Clinton is not just defending the concerns of a business, one that is not American but Canadian, but a service that is critical component of business and at the same time, projects democratic ideals of free speech and private conversations. Let un not forget that when President Obama took office Blackberry devices were not allowed, through his insistence that policy was changed.

In a meeting with Nigerian Foreign Minister Henry Odein Ajumogobia, Secretary Clinton remarked to the press “We are taking time to consult and analyze the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there’s also a legitimate right of free use and access,” she continued, “So I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go forward.”

Time is running out, the UAE is wants their ban to start on October 11th and Saudi Arabia takes effect today.

UPDATE: Just as this article was to be published, it has been revealed that Saudi Arabia and RIM may have found a compromise involving servers located in the country. Service, so far, has not been interrupted as talks progress. Saudi Arabia is RIMs largest market in the Middle East with 700,000 customers.

RIM has not commented to the press so far, os it is not clear how they have balanced the demand of authorities for access to their network and RIM’s promise of secure communications.

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