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    Updates on Privacy Questions with RIM Blackberry and Online Comments

    CTV (Canada): RIM: India won’t get access to corporate encrypted data

    For the past few months, Research in Motion (RIM) has been dealing with the threat that its BlackBerry smartphones would be banned in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India and other countries because of security concerns — BlackBerries promise a “secure” e-mail service. Some foreign governments claimed that the Canadian company didn’t comply with regulations concerning government access to smartphone information. The UAE had dropped its threats to ban BlackBerry cellphone, but RIM had faced problems in negotiations with India, with the possibility of a ban for its products in the country. In late August, RIM received a 60-day reprieve from India for its mobile phones while negotiations continued between the company and the Indian government.

    Now, CTV reports that RIM is denying a report by the Economic Times of India that said RIM had “offered to install a network data analysis system at its premises in India.” This, the Economic Times said, would allow India to have access to RIM’s customers’ encrypted data, including encrypted e-mail. RIM called the report “inaccurate and misleading.” Also, “RIM said the so-called network data analysis system is a tool required to allow carriers in India to provide lawful access to the Canadian company’s consumer services, including the BlackBerry instant messaging service, which have a lower level of security.”

    RIM said the story implies that it is “somehow enabling access to data” transmitted through its business server system. “This is both false and technologically unfeasible,” the Waterloo, Ont., company said in a statement.

    Research In Motion has repeatedly said that it doesn’t possess a “master key” to allow it or any third party to gain access to encrypted corporate data under any circumstances.

    RIM has also said that locating servers in India wouldn’t make any difference since all data remain encrypted at all times through all points of transfer between the customer’s BlackBerry enterprise server and the customer’s device.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer: Saffolds dismiss lawsuit against Plain Dealer, settle with Advance Internet

    An Ohio judge and her daughter have settled with Advance Internet and dismissed their lawsuit against the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. The disputes concerned the protection of anonymity for commenters posting to the paper’s site. The Plain Dealer reports:

    Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold and her daughter have dismissed their lawsuit against The Plain Dealer and its reporters and editors. The Saffolds reached a financial settlement with Advance Internet.

    The judge and her daughter sued the Plain Dealer, then-Editor Susan Goldberg, Advance Internet and other affiliated companies in April. The Saffolds’ suit alleged the defendants had breached a website privacy policy and defamed them by publishing stories about comments posted under the “lawmiss” and “governmentwatcher” screen names on cleveland.com, the online home of the newspaper and an affiliate of Advance Internet.

    The Plain Dealer reported that numerous comments had been made on the site by someone using an account created with an e-mail address that Judge Saffold said she and her family had sometimes used. […]

    Judge Saffold said there were significant principles at stake. “There are times in your life when no matter the odds or the size of your opponent, it is important to stand up for what you believe — rights of privacy, defending yourself and your family, and the ability of judges to act independent of outside influence,” Saffold said. […]

    Cleveland.com is affiliated with Advance Internet, which earlier this year took additional steps to ensure that it blocks the newspaper from access to the e-mail addresses of commenters.

    “It was not our intention to make this information available to The Plain Dealer, and we have taken steps to prevent this from happening again,” said John Hassell, vice president of content at Advance Internet. “As we have consistently said, we take our users” privacy very seriously and believe our users should feel confident that private information shared with us will be protected.”

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