India, UAE want to read emails, Uganda blocking Facebook and Twitter?

In a world where technology can be used to incite civil unrest, and take down a government, it’s no wonder that governments around the world are looking at ways to ‘manage’ electronic communications. So what’s the simplest solution? Block them. We saw this recently in Libya and Egypt, in response to anti-government protests. But now it appears that other governments around the world are taking a more pro-active approach to stopping the influence of the Internet.

Saudi Arabia was the first country to block BlackBerry email services, in August 2010. Since then the UAE has been pressuring RIM over those same BlackBerry services, arguing that the services offered by RIM are too secure. India seems to share that view, and on top of a battle with RIM, that country is now pressuring Nokia to hold back from launching a similar service there until the government has a way to ‘spy’ on those emails.

Rumors suggest that Uganda’s government is currently asking ISPs to block both Facebook and Twitter, as citizens protest against the quickly rising cost of living in that country.

So what’s all this about? Are these governments pre-emptively blocking these services due to fears of being overthrown? Or is this all about security, in which case it ‘could’ be argued that what they’re asking for is in the best interests of citizens? Time will tell.

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Its easier to lawfully gain information than to illegally gain information, and then not be permitted to use it in a court of law.

A law like this would allow anyone that could possibly be doing something to be snooped on without justification, at the moment I would guess that a court injunction or permission would have to be gained higher up (with proof and reasonable justification) before this snooping could happen.

When your country is surrounded by terrorist countries, your neighbors attack your innocent civilians (26/11 Mumbai attacks ), than you have to take these steps.

simrat said,
When your country is surrounded by terrorist countries, your neighbors attack your innocent civilians (26/11 Mumbai attacks ), than you have to take these steps.
So taking away privacy of the citizens is the solution to terrorist attacks? How does that solve the problem? Did you even begin to think why the terrorists are attacking your country? People become terrorists because their needs have not been met; they have been dissed many times; they are frustrated by what the government or people around them are doing to them; unfortunate circumstances make people go in the direction of terrorism, which is usually the last resort. Think about a time when you did something that you regretted in the end; why did you do that? That's what these terrorists are doing. Maybe your country did something which affected these people in a bad way and terrorism was the only way they could think of through which they could resolve their grievances or make themselves feel better. I know it's not good, but that's how humans are. Fix the root cause of the problem instead of making something else like privacy a problem. You should be calling bull **** in these situations instead of condoning it.

Edited by Jebadiah, Apr 18 2011, 8:46am :

Jebadiah said,
So taking away privacy of the citizens is the solution to terrorist attacks? How does that solve the problem? Did you even begin to think why the terrorists are attacking your country? People become terrorists because their needs have not been met; they have been dissed many times; they are frustrated by what the government or people around them are doing to them; unfortunate circumstances make people go in the direction of terrorism, which is usually the last resort. Think about a time when you did something that you regretted in the end; why did you do that? That's what these terrorists are doing. Maybe your country did something which affected these people in a bad way and terrorism was the only way they could think of through which they could resolve their grievances or make themselves feel better. I know it's not good, but that's how humans are. Fix the root cause of the problem instead of making something else like privacy a problem. You should be calling bull **** in these situations instead of condoning it.

i dont want to mention the " terrorist country " name, but people are not terrorist in my country, the other country sending terrorist in my country, like they did in 26/11, they just want my country's part, and my country dont want to give that part, its just like your neighbor is throwing stones at your house because he wants to take your lawn. tell me what you gonna do then? huh? and what if you found a stranger living in your house and giving your information to your neighbor, what you gonna do then huh? i know its not right to spy on people personal data, its against our right, but i live in this country and i know what bull**** are those terrorist causing here. and our politicians are just standing and looking, they are not doing any **** rather then spying on people data.

simrat said,

i dont want to mention the " terrorist country " name, but people are not terrorist in my country, the other country sending terrorist in my country, like they did in 26/11, they just want my country's part, and my country dont want to give that part, its just like your neighbor is throwing stones at your house because he wants to take your lawn. tell me what you gonna do then? huh? and what if you found a stranger living in your house and giving your information to your neighbor, what you gonna do then huh? i know its not right to spy on people personal data, its against our right, but i live in this country and i know what bull**** are those terrorist causing here. and our politicians are just standing and looking, they are not doing any **** rather then spying on people data.

Everything you said above is out of context. What does any of it have to do with stopping terrorist attacks? How does giving up your privacy stop terrorists from attacking you? I fail to understand your peoples's logic.

simrat said,
When your country is surrounded by terrorist countries, your neighbors attack your innocent civilians (26/11 Mumbai attacks ), than you have to take these steps.
You know what Ben Franklin said?

Jebadiah said,
So taking away privacy of the citizens is the solution to terrorist attacks? How does that solve the problem? Did you even begin to think why the terrorists are attacking your country? People become terrorists because their needs have not been met; they have been dissed many times; they are frustrated by what the government or people around them are doing to them; unfortunate circumstances make people go in the direction of terrorism, which is usually the last resort. Think about a time when you did something that you regretted in the end; why did you do that? That's what these terrorists are doing. Maybe your country did something which affected these people in a bad way and terrorism was the only way they could think of through which they could resolve their grievances or make themselves feel better. I know it's not good, but that's how humans are. Fix the root cause of the problem instead of making something else like privacy a problem. You should be calling bull **** in these situations instead of condoning it.

India's neighbour is the one who should fix its problem of using terrorism as a state weapon.

You don't understand the context. First off, I'm against government monitoring but there is a logic to their side and there is logic to why is wrong, but what you are saying is not part of it.

In a gist, the Indian government probably isn't interested or worried in revolts within their country, while many are poor there is not a huge discontent, well not especially they won the only thing that mattered to them, cricket world cup. They are worried about Parkistan, they want the ability to actually intercept any terrorist that may originate from there.

Is not as simple as "we won't monitor you". These are terrorist that is hell bent on fighting a war against India, there is nothing reasonable the Indians conceivably do to satisfy them. The Indians didn't do anything to them, and anything apart from blowing themselves apart won't satisfy them. All you could say is maybe, give a context. If you don't even know a tiny bit about their history, don't be an arm chair critic on it, is foolish and ignorant. They also can't simply have Parkistan fix the problem while we have Mumbai attacks time after time.


If anything, this shows how inadequate India is in dealing with such problems. I'm not supporting India's viewpoint, but at least you can't ignorantly ignore their own issues. Too many techies look at privacy and go pitch and fork riot without even thinking.

Eddo89 said,

Is not as simple as "we won't monitor you". These are terrorist that is hell bent on fighting a war against India, there is nothing reasonable the Indians conceivably do to satisfy them. The Indians didn't do anything to them, and anything apart from blowing themselves apart won't satisfy them. All you could say is maybe, give a context. If you don't even know a tiny bit about their history, don't be an arm chair critic on it, is foolish and ignorant. They also can't simply have Parkistan fix the problem while we have Mumbai attacks time after time.


If anything, this shows how inadequate India is in dealing with such problems. I'm not supporting India's viewpoint, but at least you can't ignorantly ignore their own issues. Too many techies look at privacy and go pitch and fork riot without even thinking.

+100000
This.

@Jebadiah : you also know how advanced terrorist are nowdays, they can use these kind of services to communicate, maybe they use other ways too, but for the country's security, government cant take the chance, they are doing whatever they can to stop terrorist, imo you should come over here and see what is happening here, then say smthing about this situation, it seems you are one of those people who judge people on the basis of media.


and one more thing, im also against this. but i also understand government point of view.

Edited by simrat, Apr 18 2011, 12:12pm :

simrat said,

imo you should come over here and see what is happening here, then say smthing about this situation, it seems you are one of those people who judge people on the basis of media.


and one more thing, im also against this. but i also understand government point of view.

Speaking as a fellow Indian, while i understand the government's point of view, i don't find it reasonable. Spying on blackberry emails wont help them intercept terrorist-suspicious-messages. Terrorists of today's modern world are too smart these days to figure out new ways on the internet to communicate on sensitive stuff like these. They wouldn't risk getting caught by sending coded emails on popular services like blackberry,google,yahoo,apple,etc or on social network sites like facebook,twitter,etc. They would definitely find low profile websites or channels for communication which are almost off the radar. So taking down the popular service ergo hurting the innocent civilians' day-to-day communication is not justified IMHO.

WiCkeD SaM said,

Speaking as a fellow Indian, while i understand the government's point of view, i don't find it reasonable. Spying on blackberry emails wont help them intercept terrorist-suspicious-messages. Terrorists of today's modern world are too smart these days to figure out new ways on the internet to communicate on sensitive stuff like these. They wouldn't risk getting caught by sending coded emails on popular services like blackberry,google,yahoo,apple,etc or on social network sites like facebook,twitter,etc. They would definitely find low profile websites or channels for communication which are almost off the radar. So taking down the popular service ergo hurting the innocent civilians' day-to-day communication is not justified IMHO.

like i said up there terrorist today are very advance, they can use other technologies too, but government cant take chance too. i agree with you on popular email services part. terrorists are not that dumb.

Eddo89 said,
You don't understand the context. First off, I'm against government monitoring but there is a logic to their side and there is logic to why is wrong, but what you are saying is not part of it.

In a gist, the Indian government probably isn't interested or worried in revolts within their country, while many are poor there is not a huge discontent, well not especially they won the only thing that mattered to them, cricket world cup. They are worried about Parkistan, they want the ability to actually intercept any terrorist that may originate from there.

Is not as simple as "we won't monitor you". These are terrorist that is hell bent on fighting a war against India, there is nothing reasonable the Indians conceivably do to satisfy them. The Indians didn't do anything to them, and anything apart from blowing themselves apart won't satisfy them. All you could say is maybe, give a context. If you don't even know a tiny bit about their history, don't be an arm chair critic on it, is foolish and ignorant. They also can't simply have Parkistan fix the problem while we have Mumbai attacks time after time.


If anything, this shows how inadequate India is in dealing with such problems. I'm not supporting India's viewpoint, but at least you can't ignorantly ignore their own issues. Too many techies look at privacy and go pitch and fork riot without even thinking.


I would agree with you if it was a good solution to the problem at hand, but asking citizens to give up their privacy is completely out of context and not a good solution to stopping terrorist attacks. This is only going to increase the fear and hatred within the country, just like it has happened in the US over the past 10 years. This is exactly what the terrorists want. The only people who benefited from the Patriot Act in the US were the businesses whose core business model depends on tracking people. The chances of false positives are way higher than true positives.

simrat said,

+100000
This.

@Jebadiah : you also know how advanced terrorist are nowdays, they can use these kind of services to communicate, maybe they use other ways too, but for the country's security, government cant take the chance, they are doing whatever they can to stop terrorist, imo you should come over here and see what is happening here, then say smthing about this situation, it seems you are one of those people who judge people on the basis of media.


and one more thing, im also against this. but i also understand government point of view.


LOL You can +Infinity anything you want. However, as you said above in bold text, they can communicate anyway through encryption. How is giving up privacy of the innocent citizens solving your root problem? Communication is not the only thing either. How will you stop weapons smuggling? How is weapons manufacturing going to be stopped? Is giving up your privacy going to stop all that?

The assumption you are making is that some of your citizens must be terrorists. How many? Based on your assumption and solution, all the 1 billion people in India are terrorists and hence they should be tracked by the government, whereas, in fact, only about a 1000, for example, may be causing all the chaos. Is this how you want to live even though the 1 billion minus 1000 people are innocent? Have your people even thought this through before agreeing to this?

Edited by Jebadiah, Apr 19 2011, 2:44am :

Jebadiah said,
LOL You can +Infinity anything you want. However, as you said above in bold text, they can communicate anyway through encryption. How is giving up privacy of the innocent citizens solving your root problem? Communication is not the only thing either. How will you stop weapons smuggling? How is weapons manufacturing going to be stopped? Is giving up your privacy going to stop all that?

The assumption you are making is that some of your citizens must be terrorists. How many? Based on your assumption and solution, all the 1 billion people in India are terrorists and hence they should be tracked by the government, whereas, in fact, only about a 1000, for example, may be causing all the chaos. Is this how you want to live even though the 1 billion minus 1000 people are innocent? Have your people even thought this through before agreeing to this?


Can you really offer any viable solution apart from criticizing this plan? How would you have your ideal government deal with such communications?
You cannot apply skewed statistics to this move. Not all air passengers are terrorists, maybe less than 0.001% may have malicious intent, but you screen them all at the airport regardless don't you? It is an inconvenience, you even make them sometimes strip. It is a move that aims to diminish the ease with which terrorists can operate. BB provided a fairly simple way to completely undermine the country's security. Sure, they'll move to other platforms, but only because this move is forcing them to do so. As you'll see, India seems to be aiming for complete transparency in communications; not only BB, but other similar providers are also being asked to allow for surveillance. While no one can guarantee, or even quantify how much of an effect this will have, it will certainly inconvenience the terrorists in the ease with which they can conspire.
The chances of this 'breach of privacy' being misused is almost nil. The government probably can't take any legal action against civilians on any other grounds.
Again, although I dislike this move, I don't see it to be as revolting as you do.

gaurav said,

Can you really offer any viable solution apart from criticizing this plan? How would you have your ideal government deal with such communications?
Why is it all about communication with you? Someone has to physically do the attack. Strengthen your borders. Apply strict immigration laws. One thing the US does best near the borders is apply immigration laws. From what I have read about Indian immigration laws a few years ago, India allows Pakistanis to come and go as they please, without Visas. You had buses from Lahore to New Delhi (is it?) without immigration checkpoints. What the hell is your government thinking? Terrorism will stop on its own if you hug and kiss them? How can you stop someone from attacking your cities when you allow everyone to come in as they please? Bull ****.

What you need your govt. to do is find out what exactly the terrorists want from you. They just don't want to destroy every single puppy and kitten in your country. They are humans too. They have needs as you do. If you start attacking the already irritated/frustrated individuals, the response is also going to be bad also. There needs to be a systematic way to talk to the terrorists and find out how your country or their country can fix problems in their lives. Maybe it is just that their country is making them attack yours.

gaurav said,
You cannot apply skewed statistics to this move. Not all air passengers are terrorists, maybe less than 0.001% may have malicious intent, but you screen them all at the airport regardless don't you? It is an inconvenience, you even make them sometimes strip. It is a move that aims to diminish the ease with which terrorists can operate. BB provided a fairly simple way to completely undermine the country's security. Sure, they'll move to other platforms, but only because this move is forcing them to do so. As you'll see, India seems to be aiming for complete transparency in communications; not only BB, but other similar providers are also being asked to allow for surveillance. While no one can guarantee, or even quantify how much of an effect this will have, it will certainly inconvenience the terrorists in the ease with which they can conspire.
The chances of this 'breach of privacy' being misused is almost nil. The government probably can't take any legal action against civilians on any other grounds.
Skewed? I used likelier numbers than you did per what I have read over several years in news articles. I do not mind me and my baggage getting screened. There doesn't have to be anything more than a basic screening which airports already do. I mind getting patted down. I mind getting X-Ray-ed. I mind being asked idiotic questions at the airport when I am not doing anything wrong. It is against my human rights. It is also a crime to touch people without permission. Well, apparently, it's not a crime if the law enforcement touches you, by your logic. Is it? Given that India has 1 billion people, it will make 1 billion people lose their peace of mind. 99.9999999999999999999999999999% false positives and what is the gain after putting in all that effort? Money your govt. could spend on education (~50% population is illiterate), research (not enough patents), providing good food (food crisis looming), water, electricity (huge shortage), etc. to your people, would be going to some private company that sells tracking products. You might end up having another terrorist attack regardless. What will you do then? Plant cameras everywhere and employ 10% of your population for neighborhood watch? LOL Makes me laugh at the UK, although I might be exaggerating.

The chain of events that follow in the long run will be a lot more complex after your country takes this first step. It only gets worse. Your country has bigger problems than terrorist attacks right now. The govt. simply makes it sound like it is a bigger than it actually is because that's how politicians get votes by doing nothing. It's the same thing in organizations isn't it. When you do worthless **** on your job, and write your own review saying that you accomplished this and that, you get a promotion, a pay raise, stocks, etc.

gaurav said,
Again, although I dislike this move, I don't see it to be as revolting as you do.
Then, don't allow it to happen to your country. All I can say is, elect the right people, and to do that is the hard part, given that people need to apply common sense (which is uncommon) and future thought. Good luck.

Edited by Jebadiah, Apr 23 2011, 2:20pm :

the article is in august, and it mentions that they might have gotten rid of it in october. Without really actually understanding what happened after October, I can't comment further.

eddaso said,
So, does this mean that the iPhone is not secure?

consumer data is always subject to lawful interception by the authorities...depending on the country you live in the difficulty of the government getting your info is vastly different depending on how strongly your country values unreasonable search and seizure and privacy

einsteinbqat said,
Of course, it is all about security. Their security, obviously, not citizens'.

+1

They also couldn't care less about citizen's security. Except to jeopardise it.

Patchou said,
"too secure"? what an incredible argument.

blackberry enterprise is "too secure" for the middle-east
they are "too secure" in that enterprise servers (BES) and companies/corporations with trade secrets hold their own encryption keys so they cannot be intercepted in any way by authorities or governments or competitors.
While this is all well and good in the freedom-land westernized world.... having this type of secure transfer of email, bbm, files, voice notes, gps location, etc. could be used as the preferred communique between terrorist groups. Its a double edged sword doing business in the middle-east.

Intercepting terrorist emails, bbms, *could* stop the next 9/11 or they could use it quash dissidents and free thinkers, or maybe just steal corporate intellectual property

from our modern view of society BIG GOV snooping is always 1984 but you have to take into account the tribal and barbaric nature of the groups that will murder 14 UN officials bc someone burned a book thousands of miles away...

Edited by Co_Co, Apr 18 2011, 4:13am :

And this will change what exactly? If a terrorist/dissident wants to exchange mail in an encrypted form with another person, they can do so fine by using Tor/GPG/PGP or other form of encryption that is both untrackable and undecipherable by these local authorities.

The technical know-how required to encrypt your mail is pretty much 0 - you can read / teach anyway in a matter of minutes, exchange keys and implement these in your cellphones/laptops/workstations email client. All your tracking just became useless.

the tribal and barbaric nature of the groups that will murder 14 UN officials bc someone burned a book thousands of miles away...[/quote]

So.... if I burned something that was special to you you wouldn't be at all tribal, barbaric or indecent? Na, its all goods right? we are civilized humans.

Speaking of which, there is a public burning of your family tomorrow? we reserved a seat for you. care to join? If you can't make it, don't worry, we are streaming it live so you can watch it anywhere in stunning 1080p HD.

Now i'm not a believer of the contents of the Quar'an but the point is, that book is extremely special to that group of people. Its not something you scoff at. Just because you don't agree with whats in it or what sterotypical propaganda bullsh*t you heard last night on hicksville TV doesn't mean it is right to burn the stuff they believe in most.

A bit of respect for others and understanding of other cultures could help here. Just because they read the Qur'an doesn't make them terrorists either.

[quote=Auzeras said,] the tribal and barbaric nature of the groups that will murder 14 UN officials bc someone burned a book thousands of miles away...[/quote]

So.... if I burned something that was special to you you wouldn't be at all tribal, barbaric or indecent? Na, its all goods right? we are civilized humans.

Speaking of which, there is a public burning of your family tomorrow? we reserved a seat for you. care to join? If you can't make it, don't worry, we are streaming it live so you can watch it anywhere in stunning 1080p HD.

Now i'm not a believer of the contents of the Quar'an but the point is, that book is extremely special to that group of people. Its not something you scoff at. Just because you don't agree with whats in it or what sterotypical propaganda bullsh*t you heard last night on hicksville TV doesn't mean it is right to burn the stuff they believe in most.

A bit of respect for others and understanding of other cultures could help here. Just because they read the Qur'an doesn't make them terrorists either.[/quote]


No, there is a big difference between burning a book and say burning one's family.
If tommorrow someone was going to burn my family on national television, it doesn't mean i'll just go down the road and murder 14 total strangers...
I always believe that people who kill for minor things like that are killers at heart and are just looking for a reason to hate because of their current situation.
When the burn my bible in those countries you don't see or hear about anyone just murdering people with hijabs just because they're different..
Those people have no respect for my religion but yet things are cool, i'm not a killer.

Auzeras said,

So.... if I burned something that was special to you you wouldn't be at all tribal, barbaric or indecent? Na, its all goods right? we are civilized humans.

Speaking of which, there is a public burning of your family tomorrow? we reserved a seat for you. care to join? If you can't make it, don't worry, we are streaming it live so you can watch it anywhere in stunning 1080p HD.

Now i'm not a believer of the contents of the Quar'an but the point is, that book is extremely special to that group of people. Its not something you scoff at. Just because you don't agree with whats in it or what sterotypical propaganda bullsh*t you heard last night on hicksville TV doesn't mean it is right to burn the stuff they believe in most.

A bit of respect for others and understanding of other cultures could help here. Just because they read the Qur'an doesn't make them terrorists either.

Really??? Someone burning a holy book is worth killing 14 individuals who had NO part in the act? The world is truly doomed if people can rationalize that.

schubb2003 said,

Really??? Someone burning a holy book is worth killing 14 individuals who had NO part in the act? The world is truly doomed if people can rationalize that.

No, however, you would act the same way if something dear to you is damaged. The intensity may be different, but the intent is the same.

Jebadiah said,
No, however, you would act the same way if something dear to you is damaged. The intensity may be different, but the intent is the same.
Only people with sick and twisted moral values can make things so "dear" that they are ready to kill other human beings over it.

Jebadiah said,
No, however, you would act the same way if something dear to you is damaged. The intensity may be different, but the intent is the same.

No I would not! I would not kill ANYONE for burning any non-living item I own, not a single one. I have things I got when my dad was still alive, the place is no longer there, he is no longer here, but I would NOT kill a single person, much less 14.

Thats the way, **** off the citizens more by revoking their last remaining freedom. Cry me a river, youre getting you're asses kicked by words. Apparently in this case words can break bones.

xbamaris said,
Thats the way, **** off the citizens more by revoking their last remaining freedom. Cry me a river, youre getting you're asses kicked by words. Apparently in this case words can break bones.

Privacy factors are quite different compare to US / EU and in India.

GOV officials (often instructed by ruling party) are all busy spying another political party, since the vast portion of the normal citizen is not rich enough to be spied upon..

The only place where they (GOV) would misuse is against other political party.

We all know, phone taping is common way of spying and here in India, most of the misuse is done by a political party towards another, in very very rare high profile case, we found that law agency was found guilty for spying citizen

As told by security agency in 26/11 Mumbai attacks and also in parliament attacks, BlackBerry RIM service was one of the main way of planning !!! Unfortunate it is as an user to see, but when we look back at Indian history of spying and misuse of spying power, we know, general citizens are too poor to become target