Bad news has struck both Research In Motion (RIM) and all BlackBerry users present in Saudi Arabia as the authorities there announced today that they would be blocking some of the BlackBerry services from this Friday. This decisions comes at the time when RIM is already having a hard time in the Middle East with several countries having an objection on the services provided by RIM.
The issue at hand is the handling of encrypted data from BlackBerry devices from its own server, unlike other vendors like Apple. This created a dispute between RIM and local governments on the monitoring of private data being transferred from BlackBerry devices. RIM has taken a stand that they will not allow access to the governments for monitoring the encrypted data in a statement issued which reads as follows:
“The BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers is based on a symmetric key system whereby the customer creates their own key and only the customer ever possesses a copy of their encryption key. RIM does not possess a “master key”, nor does any “back door” exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party to gain unauthorized access to the key or corporate data.”
The decision taken by the Saudi administration coincided right in time when RIM launched its much awaited and hyped BlackBerry Torch Smartphone, said to be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone 4 Smartphone. Also, the decision proved wrong the claims made by RIM’s chief technology executive David Yach who said while talking to Reuters that, “”I believe they’ll have trouble pulling the trigger to shut down BlackBerry, most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry.”
This decision is sure to hit RIM hard and setback its growth plan in the Smartphone market as the Middle East forms a huge chunk of the Smartphone users.