The New York Times reports on the issues of privacy and security as applied to electronic information:
The threat by the United Arab Emirates to shut down mobile services on BlackBerrys like e-mail and text messaging underscores a growing tension between communications companies and governments over how to balance privacy with national security.
While communications companies want to be able to ensure that their customers’ messages are shielded from prying eyes, governments increasingly insist on gaining access to electronic messages to track down criminals or uncover terrorist plots. […]
Internet security experts say the demands by the United Arab Emirates for certain access to communications flowing across the BlackBerry network echo requests of other governments around the world. Many countries have laws and regulations requiring telecommunications providers to grant government agencies access to their systems for court-sanctioned intercepts.
The demands also come as other governments, including India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, are reportedly considering new requirements on services like BlackBerry to ensure they can monitor electronic messages. […]
Research In Motion issued a statement on Monday that did not directly address the company’s conflict with the United Arab Emirates or its relationship with other countries, citing the “confidential nature” of its discussions with certain governments. The company said it balanced competing demands.
“R.I.M. respects both the regulatory requirements of government and the security and privacy needs of corporations and consumers,” the company said in statement. In an open letter to customers, Research In Motion, which operates in more than 175 countries, also said that its security system was designed to ensure that no one, not even the company, could gain unauthorized access to customers’ data.