Web users in the United Arab Emirates have more to worry about than having just their BlackBerries cracked.

Inside the Internet.
Aug. 27 2010 2:56 PM

The Internet's Secret Back Door

Web users in the United Arab Emirates have more to worry about than having just their BlackBerries cracked.

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Ironically, RIM's enterprise BlackBerry encryption is one of the few secure Internet communication channels that doesn't depend on certificate authorities, which could be one of the reasons the UAE is so obsessed with cracking it. RIM's defense against the UAE's demands is that corporations and individuals expect the same level of privacy in their BlackBerry communications as they get from any other Internet service. "Everything on the Internet is encrypted," CEO Michael Lazaridis told the Wall Street Journal, slightly inaccurately. "This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." What's worrying is that the UAE may indeed have already "dealt with" the rest of the Internet—just not in the way that most of us would like.

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Danny O'Brien is the internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Follow him on Twitter.