Blackberries , encryption and other mobile phones

John Wilson tugwilson at
Mon Aug 2 13:02:36 BST 2010

On 2 August 2010 08:44, Mary Hawking <maryhawking at> wrote:
> According to Radio 4 Today this morning, the UAE is banning some functions
> of Blackberries because they are encrypted, the servers are outside the UAE
> and Blackberry has refused to allow access to the encrypted messages and
> calls and regard this as a security threat.
> The piece also said that they are not banning iPhones and, by implication,
> other mobiles: does this mean that the traffic on these is available to the
> UAE security forces, at any rate, when used within their territory?

As I understand it Blackberry uses a proprietary protocol for email
(and, I think, IM). This is always encrypted (see The UAE blocks
quite a few sites and seems to stop SSL access to some sites (see
I'm guessing that they will block SSL access to Google mail but allow
non SSL access, they don't have that option with the Blackberry as
there's no non encrypted version of the protocol.

> I'm about to change from an ancient Nokia and have been considering
> Blackberry, iPhone and Android (not necessarily in that order): what are the
> security models of each, and do they depend on the handset or the network?
> I.e. if I continue with O2 and get a Blackberry, does the handling of the
> messages depend on the device (Blackberry) or the network supplier (O2), and
> would it be different if I got an iPhone (or one of the Android phones) but
> still stayed with O2?

There's some interesting work going on to produce secure Android
phones. See

John Wilson

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