BlackBerry security worries are 'legitimate'

The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says security concerns are valid, but there is also "a legitimate right of free use and access".

The UAE has legitimate security concerns over the use of the BlackBerry, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said yesterday. Mrs Clinton said the US will hold technical talks with the UAE and other countries on the imminent ban on Blackberry Messenger and other encrypted services. "We are taking time to consult and analyse the full array of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there is also a legitimate right of free use and access," she said.

"The US is in touch with the UAE and other governments on these issues," a spokesperson at the US embassy in Abu Dhabi said. PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the US State Department, said: "We're going to try to understand what their concerns are, the nature of the ongoing negotiations that they have with this particular company." Peter Van Loan, the Canadian trade minister, said his government is also in touch with officials in the UAE and Saudi Arabia over the issue.

Washington's intervention came as Lebanon joined the UAE, India and Saudi Arabia in raising concerns over security. The UAE telecoms regulator says it wants the same level of access to encrypted messages as is offered to other governments, including the US and the UK. RIM says it does not have a "key" to its encrypted messages, but that it can offer governments access to the "encrypted stream" of communications, similar to a wiretap, if ordered to by the judiciary.

newsdesk@thenational.ae For the latest news on BlackBerry go to www.thenational.ae/blackberry