Lebanon to assess security concerns over BlackBerry

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Lebanon will assess security concerns relating to the use of BlackBerry phones, the telecom regulator said on Thursday, making it the latest country to raise worries over the smartphone devices.

Acting Head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Imad Hoballah, said the TRA would start talks with BlackBerry’s Canadian maker, Research In Motion, over its concerns.

RIM is facing mounting pressure from some governments around the world, including India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to allow access to its encryption system on national security grounds.

“We are studying the issue from all sides — technical, service-wise, economic, financial, legal and security-wise,” Hoballah told Reuters. “We are discussing this with the concerned administrations and ministries.”

On Wednesday RIM and Saudi Arabia held last-ditch talks to avert a threatened cut-off of the BlackBerry Messenger text messaging service.

The UAE plans to ban BlackBerry Messenger, email and web browser services from October.

Hoballah did not say what decision might be taken on the use of BlackBerrys in Lebanon. Industry executives put Lebanon’s mobile phone penetration at 60 percent to 70 percent, with only a fraction of subscribers owning BlackBerrys.

SPIES, STREET-FIGHTING, EAVESDROPPING

The Lebanese regulator’s move coincides with widespread concern over the integrity of the telecom network.

Two employees at state-owned mobile telecom firm Alfa were been charged last month with spying for Israel. A third employee working for fixed-line operator Ogero was arrested last week.

The arrests have sparked debates on how deeply Israel had penetrated Lebanon’s telecom and security sectors.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, said the cases showed Israel’s ability to infiltrate and control the network, compromising Lebanon’s national security.

RIM is in an unusual position of having to deal with government requests to monitor its clients because it is the only smartphone maker which manages the traffic of messages sent using its equipment.

The BlackBerry issue highlights national security concerns mooted in Lebanon and elsewhere.

“BlackBerry is outside the control of monitoring. So there are fears that it could be exploited by Islamist extremist groups or by spies,” a security source said.

Lebanon experienced a violent crisis in 2008 when the Western-backed government tried to ban a private fixed-line communication network operated by Hezbollah.

The powerful political and military group called the move “open war” and its gunmen briefly seized Beirut.

Rival Lebanese politicians have also stirred controversy in the past by accusing each other of eavesdropping on phone calls. Reuters

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21 responses to “Lebanon to assess security concerns over BlackBerry”

  1. i would ban them given the amount of spies getting caught.

    1. So funny, libon is so concerned with blackberry services and yet they dont have electricity to power them. Dont worry ya libonais security agency, no power to turn them on.

      Heres some advice, GET ELECTRICITY to power the damn phone and then address its security issue!

      yeee Tony keefak? ive seen you involved in some funny arguments on here lol, keep it up! You going to libon soon?

      1. hi maria. yes i am ya ikhti. 5 weeks and counting. i’ll be there for a month.so when i get back on ya libnan i’ll be sure to tell you guys how things really are.

  2. Maria, blackberries work on wireless networks…no need for electricity.

    1. Leb-Syrian Avatar
      Leb-Syrian

      lol bas ya cathy, you need electricity to charge the phone and keep it running!

      1. Lol wlek eh I know, bass mish hayda yalli ra7 yemna3 inno yeshteghlo…fi moteur! ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Leb-Syrian Avatar
      Leb-Syrian

      haha this is true, the spies can always charge the blackberries in their cars!

    3. so i take it the phone is solar and requires no electricity to charge, yeee merci for the tip!

      1. Tarie Al Fanarie Avatar
        Tarie Al Fanarie

        Maria who needs electricity in Lebanon when you have Nassrallah lightining it up on TV. especially this coming monday God knows what he has in store.

  3. moustapha Avatar
    moustapha

    Also the routers, satellites, receivers and communication systems that provide the service also need to be powered up.

    My family said that the electricity has been going on and off through out lebanon in this heat wave that most peoples appliances are malfunctioning due to the extreme surges and cutoffs of electricity. The Elec company cant keep up with the electricity demand and it has begun an extreme rationing. =( Its soo sad =(

    1. moustapha they should install what mu dad has in his house – circuit breakers. he showed me his sophisticated power room when i was thre last. thats why nothing explodes when the electricity cuts off and you power on the diesel generators. tell your family to hire a good electrician. he’ll take care of tht problem for sure my friend.

  4. eh moustapha I know…I was just trying to lighten up the mood in here ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. moustapha Avatar
    moustapha

    And you have succeeded. Bless you.

  6. woopdeedoo tarie is back posting. here we go for things that happened 30 years ago.

  7. Tarie Al Fanarie Avatar
    Tarie Al Fanarie

    Tony I know you miss me Bro – Have no fear Tarie is here. Watch out you megmaniacs hezb followers I am gonna wip your behind. Yeah haaaaaaaaaaaaaah..

    Tony I read your Post and CATHY the newly elected member of hezbollah. I won’t respond to previous ones but I will tomorrow to new ones for sure. Asta La Vista baby..

  8. LOL yeah whooppee tarie. can you argue without the history lessons??

    dude you gave me a politicians hand being chopped off from like 30 years ago. are you obsessed with the past that much??

    stick to the present and debate all you want.

    i’m just surprised that a kurd who is a minority in lebanon would not understand HA’s plight of whose people (the shiites) were not adequately defended pre 82?

    they’re a minority that gets bullied and they outsnarted the government, came bakc strong and everybody’s crying foul play.

    all i’ve been saying is why dont we all get along. why is that so hard for you and george to understand. the gov’t under the orders of president suleiman is slowly invoking the message of unity and family. we’re all one in lebanon and we’re all together.

    i actually like this message but many of you would love to see the shia disappear which is really a sad thought process cos thats not what god encourages.

    1. Leb-Syrian Avatar
      Leb-Syrian

      Ohhh hes kurdish, no wonder he hates Syria and loves Israel so much. I guess I can not argue with him, because yes the Syrian govt, and Turks treat the Kurds like $hit. Tarie if you are indeed Kurdish then, all your hate is justified in my eyes.

      1. Leb-Syrian Avatar
        Leb-Syrian

        And just to clarify I dont support harm or malice toward any group of people. May god give them strength.

      2. Tarie Al Fanarie Avatar
        Tarie Al Fanarie

        Leb-Syrian no I am lebanese armenian but I do sympathsize with the kurds whom many arab countries including yours ignore them and eliminate them at any chance they got. Nobody ever thought about giving them homeland. None of you here ever felt bad for them. Its okay double standards is everywhere.

  9. another thing tarie is that we’re not HA followers, we’re lebanon followers so get your facts or insults right?

    i’m for lebanon and that means i’m gonna be fair to all the sides regardless of who they are. there will be times where you will see me siding with aoun if he ever says something sensible. when he does, i’ll be on his side for that particular statement.

  10. my whole point tarie is that you’re a minority like me being druze so you should out of all people understand whta its like being pushed around by a majority……

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