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Canada trade minister: Government will stand up for RIM

09 августа 2010

Canada's Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan, said the government will stand up for Research In Motion Ltd. in its struggle with foreign governments who are demanding greater access to information flowing through the BlackBerry maker's heavily encrypted network.

"Our government will be standing up for RIM as a Canadian company and the BlackBerry, as we always do stand up for Canadian companies doing business abroad when they run into these kind of challenges," Van Loan told Dow Jones in an interview.

Van Loan's comments come after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia threatened to ban BlackBerry email and messaging service in their respective countries. The threatened bans stem from the fact that data sent to and from a BlackBerry is processed by servers outside the two countries, and from an inability to monitor data on the device, ostensibly in the name of national security. India and Indonesia have expressed similar concerns in recent days.

Van Loan said Canada has made it clear that it's concerned about the "broad implications for the free flow of communications and information" if the bans are implemented. On a more practical level, he said he is also concerned about the implications on business if the UAE and Saudi Arabia go through with the bans.

Van Loan said the UAE is trying to position itself as a center for international trade and commerce, and believes an important part of that effort is allowing business people to use the most fundamental tools of the trade, like the BlackBerry, to carry out their work."That's why I'm surprised that they're talking about a step like this, which clearly undermines their larger objective of positioning themselves as a business-friendly environment," he said.

Van Loan said the Canadian government has been in contact with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries in an effort to resolve the issue. He didn't elaborate, save to say that RIM is involved in the talks. Asked in an emailed follow-up question if the government is coordinating its response with the U.S., Van Loan reiterated that Canada is working with RIM and that it is already engaged with the UAE to seek a resolution.

In a statement late Thursday, Van Loan said he welcomes the support of the U.S. government."Officials in Canada are in contact with the U.S. State department. Our embassy in Washington is engaged in speaking with their counterparts at the State department," Van Loan said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the U.S. and the UAE will hold talks on BlackBerry use.

Van Loan wouldn't say what steps Canada would take if the UAE and Saudi Arabia go through with the ban."Right now our focus is on working towards a constructive solution," he said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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