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Yes, Big Brother is listening

Ross O. Storey | Aug. 4, 2010
Governments threaten mobile operators to provide access to private calls

Anyone with fears of Big Brother monitoring their daily lives would have, like me, been chilled by news this week, where the United Arab Emirates reportedly threatened to cut off Blackberry services because they were too secure.

As new reports would have it, the UAE authorities were upset because they could not access encrypted messaging data. Whats more, the reports state that the governments of Saudi Arabia and India were also concerned that Blackberry security features make it difficult for them to monitor messages for national security purposes.

Am I the only one who was shocked at this?

According to the Economic Times newspaper, Blackberrys company, Research in Motion has even agreed to allow Indian security agencies to monitor its services, offering to share its technical codes for corporate email services, to open up access to all consumer emails within 15 days and also to develop tools in six to eight months, to allow the monitoring of chats. So much for standing up for human rights and individual privacy, but then corporate profits have always come out in front of most other considerations.

Whats going on here?

What about other communication firms?

Reading between the lines, if only Blackberry has been threatened by the aforementioned countries, this must mean that other phone manufacturers Apple, Nokia, Motorola, HTC are already able to be monitored, or they too would presumably also be heavied by governments.

Apparently, these other communication companies have systems that governments who want to, can already easily monitor. What happened to individual privacy, personal security and corporate confidentiality?

The fact that governments feel quite entitled to demand eavesdropping rights on their corporations and citizens seems to be chilling confirmation that yes, Big Brother is indeed listening to us all.

No doubt, if they felt the need to defend themselves, such governments would claim they need such onerous eavesdropping powers to catch terrorists, criminals and other enemies of society. But who watches Big Brother? What balancing authority monitors such privacy breaching activities and keeps their behaviour acceptable to the overall world community? To whom do these governments report and to whom do they justify their behaviour?

Do governments know best?

Surely major corporations must be shocked at this open acknowledgment that communications security is apparently routinely breached by governments who know best.

If I was the head of a multinational corporation involved in highly competitive international trade, this latest news would certainly have me double checking my information and communications security. Perhaps our ancestors had it right when they used carrier pigeons to convey sensitive messages.

Apparently the world has long since lost the right of privacy both corporate and individual and perhaps we can blame terrorists who have given governments the ideal excuse to trash individual rights.


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