RIM CEO: If You’re Going to Ban the BlackBerry, You Might as Well Ban the Internet Too
Research in Motion co-CEO Michael Lazaridis has a bit of advice for Gulf states threatening to ban BlackBerry services over national security concerns: “If they can’t deal with the Internet, they should shut it off.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Lazaridis said complaints that RIM’s BlackBerry network is not conducive to surveillance reflect a lack of understanding of the Internet. “Everything on the Internet is encrypted,” Lazaridis said. “This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can’t deal with the Internet, they should shut it off.”
That said, it would be bad for business if they did, so Lazaridis says RIM (RIMM) will do what it can to educate the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India and the like about the dangers of the Internet and the need for encrypted data services like the ones it provides. “This will get resolved…if there is a chance for rational discussion,” Lazaridis said. “We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don’t have Ph.D.’s, and they don’t have a degree in computer science.”
Youch. Can’t imagine that’s going to go over too well with the other folks participating in that “rational discussion”–especially those in India’s information technology industry.