Monday, August 02, 2010
The United Arab Emirates is moving to ban Blackberry e-mail and phone devices unless the company provides a way for the country to monitor them. Research in Motion (RIM) , the Canadian company that makes Blackberries, is faced with a decision that it would never worry about in the First World. What is a company to do? The article predicts RIM will comply because most western companies do. Only Google made an issue of standing up to the Chinese government over search results, and even Google caved in the end. What this does, however, is open these companies to long-term risks of criticism from activists and others for bowing to governments rather than hewing to principles of Free Speech.. The response to that is a company is in business first and human rights second, but few companies will make that statement. It is too controversial. Rather, RIM will hope no one says anything, and it can move forward with its business. This may work with the UAE but not in other countries.