Hillary Clinton believes proposed bans on RIM’s BlackBerry devices are an attack on freedom, despite conceding the smartphones raise legitimate concerns regarding national security.
The US secretary of state said she had held discussions with the United Arab Emirates and other countries considering banning RIM’s devices, but would not yet push to overturn those bans until all the evidence had been considered.
“We are taking time to consult and analyze the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern,” Clinton said during a press conference yesterday.
The UAE plans to ban RIM’s handsets in October, because security services can’t monitor messages and Web pages browsed on the handsets.
A raft of similar bans have since been unveiled from countries including Saudi Arabia and India, while Lebanon is also mulling a ban, the BBC reported.
Clinton said the US was working with all the countries involved to find a resolution.
“It involves a very complex set of issues,” she stated, adding that any resolution would be based on “technical and expert discussions.”
At stake is the “legitimate right of free use and access,” Clinton noted.
The UAE’s The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) says the BlackBerry is the only device that fails to comply with regulations that were drawn up in 2007.
It has agreed deals with carriers Etisalat and Du to replace BlackBerry user’s devices with units from Apple, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, Etisalat said.