Can foreign country's authoritarian governments truly stop RIM and others from penetrating their markets?

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

Strict foreign policies linger like a heavy, shadowy fog over Research in Motion's ability to penetrate overseas markets. Security concerns and regulations cited by various foreign government such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and India, loom large over North American countries, such as Google, Facebook, and RIM, who are pushing for true globalization.

The authoritarian governments want to control information and deepen surveillance to tackle dissent and insurgency, saying they want access to the encrypted phones to monitor security threats. In the Blackberry case, failure from RIM's end to meet their conditions may result in certain threats becoming reality, which means having Blackberry messaging functions blocked in some countries.

"It is part of a wider trend," Jonathan Wood is quoted as saying in The Province. Jonathan is a global-issues analyst at London-based consultancy Control Risks, which advises companies on security, corruption, politics and other issues. "After 9/11, you had this huge expansion of Western powers monitoring electronic communications for national security. Other countries are now catching up. The difference is they want to use it more broadly."

globe

Companies like RIM are realizing the difficulties in globalizing services.

"It's obviously going to be a concern for Western business," Jonathan continued. "You have the risk that some of this information may be used for commercial purposes."

So what does this all mean for the future of global wireless security and other global internet services? It depends a lot on who budges first—if RIM decides to cave in to foreign demands, many Western forces will probably be forced to recoil in unison, because the governments overseas will become even stiffer. But if RIM can negotiate its way out of this mess in a manner that sees its services remain unbanned, yet keeps its Blackberry messaging functions in a state of RIM-controlled security, that will pave the way for future successes.

It's all about the next move and who can set the standard. 

RIM's dispute with the United Arab Emirates will be particularly influential because of its unusually public nature. What GSMK CEO Bjoern Rupp called a "clumsy approach," the UAE's outright ban is contrary to the typical attack ploy: "Most countries with an active interest in monitoring their citizens' telecommunications act in a much more sophisticated and subtle way in order to keep such activities out of the public spotlight," Bjoern told Reuters.

One thing that seems certain, though, is that regardless if Blackberries can eventually be a standard mode of communication in these foreign countries, some tool for communication will be. A human rights activist and UAE lawyer said that the Blackberry messaging function was a "revolution" for people in his country—it "awakened" them, and he's confident they won't be willing to sleep easy if their toys are taken away.

Company:
BlackBerry
Website:
http://www.blackberry.com
Location:
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry solution in 1999. Since then, BlackBerry products and services have continued to change the way millions of people around the world stay connected. With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we have re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry. Not only did we introduce a... more

Company:
Google
Website:
http://www.google.com
Location:
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world's largest search engine --... more

Company:
Facebook
Website:
http://www.facebook.com
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. more


Related Articles


blog comments powered by Disqus

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more



Who's Hiring



Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus