India’s government is currently in the process of testing a solution that will allow it to spy on BlackBerry users sending and receiving data over India’s cellular airwaves. The country’s Telecom Secretary has confirmed that India’s Department of Telecommunications is testing the solution, which will allow government officials to monitor several services tied to Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones. The new solution being tested is part of India’s demands to gain access to messages sent by its citizens, and the government has threatened to ban BlackBerry devices if it is not granted access to users’ data. RIM has cooperated with some of India’s demands in the past, having provided it with the means to see messages sent via BlackBerry Messenger and to monitor web browsing, but the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor has insisted on multiple occasions that it does not possess the capability to monitor encrypted emails sent and received via its corporate BES service. India’s Telecom Secretary would not specify which BlackBerry services this new monitoring solution addresses.
The United Arab Emirates’ Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Saturday stated its intentions to limit the access its citizens have to RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. RIM said on Sunday, however, that new regulations in the UAE will impact all smartphones and not just BackBerry devices. “The TRA has confirmed to RIM that any potential policy regarding enterprise services in the UAE would be an industry-wide policy applying equally to all enterprise solution providers,” RIM said in a statement. This is clearly a touchy subject for RIM. The secure smartphone maker has been at war for years with officials in India demanding access to corporate emails sent and received with its devices, and now the fight has spilled over into other countries. RIM insists that other companies are impacted by these regulations as well, however, and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis recently stormed out of an interview when pressed on the subject. Of course India’s regulations are affecting other companies, but RIM gets the most media attention because its devices have touted security so much since their introduction, and because RIM is the only company so far that said it cannot grant India the access it needs. More →
While we like where Research In Motion is going with its new BlackBerry Playbook, there’s little question at this point that it is a rushed product. RIM admits as much by constantly talking about future updates that will bring missing functionality to the platform, just as Microsoft has done with its Windows Phone platform. As has been beaten to death by reviewers, the PlayBook will lack core functionality at launch, such as an email client, calendar functionality and more, and it also won’t have an extensive selection of available third-party applications until it is updated to support Android apps in a future update. Bloomberg caught up with RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on Friday and confronted him with several questions surrounding these critiques. While the uncomfortable situation wasn’t enough to make him walk out of the interview as Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did earlier this week, Balsillie ultimately did little to convince teetering consumers to make a purchase when the PlayBook is released next week. Hit the break for a video of the interview. More →