RIM Agrees to Block Access to Online Pornography for Indonesia

By Cindy Waxer January 10, 2011

This isn’t the first time a foreign country has tried to push around Research In Motion, and it probably won’t be the last. The BlackBerry-maker has agreed to deploy Internet pornography filters in Indonesia after being threatened with a blackout for its two million users, according to a Guardian News and Mail report.

The Guardian reports that RIM is rolling out its filters “as soon as possible” in response to Indonesian communications minister Tifautul Sembiring’s warnings. The move to censor communications marks the first time RIM has agreed to filter the Internet on its smartphones.

In October, TechZone360.com reported that the government of India announced that BlackBerry messenger services could continue in the country once RIM guaranteed that law enforcers would be able to monitor encrypted data. Earlier in the year, India threatened to ban BlackBerry services unless RIM made them accessible to its security agencies. Research In Motion Vice President Robert E. Crowe met with Home Ministry officials in New Delhi to try to avoid the ban.

Similarly, just days before a moratorium was set to take effect on BlackBerry services, the United Arab Emirates resolved its dispute with the Canadian device maker. Previously, the UAE threatened it would suspend BlackBerry Messenger, e-mail and Web browser services from Oct. 11, unless RIM figured out a way to locate encrypted servers in the country, so that the government could control access to messages.

The ban would have impacted 500,000 subscribers. Countries including Saudi Arabia have also threatened to cut off services but managed to reach an agreement with RIM in recent months.

With 1.1 million mobile users, RIM simply couldn’t afford to lose India as a customer. In fact, according to a report by tech trend firm ComScore, RIM is fast losing market share to Google’s Android operating system. Among the report’s key findings is that consumer awareness of Google’s Android is growing rapidly, due in large part to the Verizon Droid ad campaign. In other words, this is no time to alienate an entire country.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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