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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