26 July 2010

UAE and Blackberry

I was interested to see this story on BBC online. It explains that the United Arab Emirates may wish to monitor or restrict use of BlackBerry devices inside the country. What really caught my attention, however, was the concern about BlackBerry data being "stored offshore".

It should not really be that surprising that the UAE has flagged this as a national security issue. With an estimated 140,000 subscribers inside the UAE, they want to know that their legal system can enforce orders that might relate to this data.

I think that the future for BlackBerry (and, by the way, for anyone who provides a "Cloud" computing service) will be to re-architect their system so that it is possible for individual customer data storage and processing to take place in a defined physical jurisdiction. I suspect that the UAE (and others) will increasingly impose laws and regulations that take the form: "All communications data for subscribers who reside in our country, must be processed and stored within our country."

Lesson for business: If you want to run a successful online data business, you should already be designing your online border enforcement strategy.