If there was ever a conflict with technology and a government, we may be looking at it with the BlackBerry. Although this seems to be raising feathers around the world, the fact is no government including the US is completely comfortable when it can not sneak a peak into people’s private affairs.
The Issue that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are looking to limit use of the BlackBerry because it is too secure can most certainly cause a knee jerk reaction. But if you take a few moments to think about why this may happen, it all comes down to the question of why. When that question is answered then it comes down to taking sides.
2010 is not 1960, and in those 50 years a lot has changed. The primary bad guy has changed from whatever and whoever to Mr. Terrorist. Now seeing the somehow the Middle East is synonymous with terrorism in the minds of many, one can expect a country in the Middle East that caters to money, excesses and ultimately the west should and must do its part in bringing an end to terrorism. If that is the case then many people can accept that they must give up a bit of their privacy in exchange for better security. But if the reason is other than that, then people can very quickly take the opposite side and be opposed to the governments intended BlackBerry limitations.
If the UAE and other governments wish to pry into people’s lives for much more than that, then the feeling that freedom is being removed is obvious to overwhelming. For many that just has a taste of the 1960 era bad guys being cloak and dagger spies. The thought of people listening in on phone conversations, opening and reading your mail, and following you about is just too much of a reminder of the way things were in 1960 for many western countries.
You can still see this today when someone who has lived in China all their lives moves and lives in the west, it can take them several years to rid the feeling that the walls have ears. In many cases they still do until a language other than Chinese is mastered. Many Chinese language websites are under the control of the Chinese government, and because of that they are somewhat successful in keeping tabs on people as the Chinese websites install government written monitoring programs on people’s computers. Then when these people return to China to visit they are confronted by the Chinese authorities. So finding the so called Chinese equal of the Blackberry in China, you already know there is a big window in its privacy without even looking for it.
In short it all comes down to the intent of the government. People are seemingly only willing to give up some privacy if it protects them from terrorists. Many simply see that as the toll we all must pay in today’s world. If it is more than that expect things to get very messy one way or the other.