RIM may be close to an agreement with the UAE over access to encrypted data – ‘very optimistic’ is the message from Abu Dhabi. However, the US government may be about to give RIM, another headache. A new bill is planned for 2011 to make it easier for official powers to access user information.
New US legislation would cover encrypted email providers, like RIM, and even applications such as Facebook and Skype. Security already in place would have to be changed – reverse-engineered – and this could lead to holes for awaiting hackers.
Dai Davis, a partner at law firm Brooke North has his own theory on the US proposal. “…the UK authorities already have the power to enforce interceptions on any business, even hotels. I question whether this isn’t more of a political move in the US or one designed to save time [in accessing personal communications data].”
Gus Hosein, policy director at human rights group Privacy International, said – “Essentially, the Obama administration feels that there shouldn’t be a single interaction in the world that is beyond the eyes and ears of the government.”
Not only does Mr Hosein see the re-engineering as overly ambitious he also is concerned about ‘building vulnerabilities into our systems.’ The US does not want to have a weak underbelly that it cannot reach – but in presenting such a bill, could Obama be weakening the electronic environment?
Hosein may think so. “…we need to be making our infrastructure more secure, just as Google learned with regards to China at the start of the year.”