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The U.A.E./BlackBerry Privacy Dustup Affects Us All

Governments of countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India have recently insisted on the need for access to users' BlackBerry messages for security purposes. If BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) doesn't comply with various government demands, it could be shut out of these lucrative foreign markets. Ultimately, this can leave companies with the following choice: protect customers' human right to privacy… or protect the bottom line.

So, big deal, right? Why should Americans care about the foreign entanglements of a Canadian company? CDT President Leslie Harris has the answers in her latest ABC New column, headlined: "BlackBerry Butterfly Effect."

In this era of a globally interconnected world, the clash between technology, user privacy, and national security anywhere in the world eventually affects us all. Once a company like RIM concedes to one government's demands for surveillance capabilities that do not properly protect privacy rights, other governments will demand equivalence.

To read more on this issue – and gain some background on how the BlackBerry network actually operates – you can read this CDT blog post by the CDT staff.