BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) made an announcement this Thursday that it has started Internet filtering on its smartphones in Indonesia. The Indonesian government had issued a deadline for RIM to begin blocking porn websites. RIM complied with it. This is the first time that such a move has been made in any country.“RIM is now in the process of implementing an Internet content-filtering solution that addresses our carrier partners’ regulatory obligations in Indonesia” RIM said.

In response, Indonesian Communication Minister Tifatul Sembiring—who has been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to clamp down on pornography—said on his Twitter account; “Thank God RIM has complied with Indonesian regulations. Pornography has been blocked. Please go ahead with business as usual in compliance with the law.”

In Pakistan since May 2010, BlackBerry users continue to face difficulties in web browsing and connectivity due to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) instructions to telecom companies which called for blocking access to blasphemous content following the now-lifted ban on Facebook.

After successful content restriction in Indonesia few questions arise:

  1. Why can’t the same be done for Pakistan? What stops them?
  2. When RIM can block porn, why can’t they block selected blasphemous content for Pakistan?
  3. Is it because of lack of efforts from PTA and Pakistani mobile operators OR RIM intentionally does not wish to do so?

Also to note here is that RIM also has been under pressure in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to provide access to data on its secure networks. The company averted a ban on key BlackBerry services in both after the countries said regulatory requirements had been satisfied. The encryption is central to the company’s appeal to corporate customers, which say that secure communications are necessary. Across border, in India, the government has sought access to data on RIM’s secure networks, fearing that encryption makes them convenient for terrorists and RIM is in ongoing and positive talks with them.

We will close here and look forward to your opinion/comments on the matter.

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