Solved: Case Study: Balancing Business Interests and Host Nation's Security Concerns

Case Study: Balancing Business Interests and Host Nation’s Security Concerns.

In 2010, the UAE government imposed a ban on the BlackBerry. The smartphone created a furore in countries like India, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, among others, as well. The governments of these countries considered the phone a national security threat due to the strong encryption built into the design of the BlackBerry system that blocked security agencies from tracking communications carried over through these devices. This encryption system was developed by RIM to guarantee customers privacy – a major USP of RIM. The case study enables a discussion on the remedial measures available to RIM to answer such security concerns without compromising privacy.

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1- Who are the stakeholders in this case study? What are their problems and concerns?

2- How might these problems and/or concerns and the specific questions posed in the case study may be answered by reference to concepts, theories, models and /or research findings?

Expert Answer

1. The stake holders are both the mobile phone users (the users of the Black Berry Mobile phones) and the host nation’s National Security departments.


RIM = Research in Motions

Reference to concepts:

Private Key encryption and public key encryption;

The alphabets and numbers are translated into a unique coding system and only the cryptic code is sent across; on the receiving end, decryption is applied to decipher the cryptic code back into the normal code.

Now the Blackberry interferes with this type of concepts and hence creates trouble for the security department.

Reference to theories:

Security is implemented in the form of firewalls, digital signatures, to protect against the worms, viruses, and malwares;

Phishing attacks are also protected in the same manner.

The theoretical idea is to make sure that the consumer’s devices and their operating frequencies do not interfere with that of the government and especially the national security agencies and defense force. It had been the law ever since the invention of Radios as certain frequency bands are reserved for National security and only the remaining were allotted for radio stations to operate and broadcast.

The same thing applies to the case of Black Berry as well – they have to make sure that the customer’s privacy are protected and also that they are not breaking any law by disabling the security personal from legal access.

Reference to models:

There are many models to encryption like:

  • Attack model
  • Standard model
  • Classical model
    • under the classical model, the plain text is subjected to the encryption algorithm as an input, the algorithm uses an encryption key and produces a cipher text
    • On the receiving end, the cipher text is fed into a decryption algorithm as an input, and the algorithm uses a decryption key to output a plain text for the receiver
  • There are 3 types of keys like public key, private key, and shared key
  • The algorithm can be either symmetric or asymmetric including the Euclidean Algorithm, Chinese reminder theorem, prime number testing using the number theory (proposed by Rabin Miller), and the Rivest Shamir Adleman invented in 1979

Business and Politics must strike a balance to operate in a mutually beneficial manner.

Reference to research findings:

Mobile Phone Operation guidelines – book on cell phones and PDA security measures authored by Wayne Johnsen

Further research areas include Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Document Object Model (DOM), Cascaded Style Sheets (CSS), Asynchronous Java Script and XML (AJAX)

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