Following reports that India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates plan to restrict the use of BlackBerry smart phones, ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson made the following statement:
"The recent activity by governments to regulate RIM's services reflects the challenges that many IT businesses face operating in a global economy. While businesses should be good corporate citizens and respect civil liberties, ultimately every nation must determine for itself where it draws the line for appropriate levels of free speech, government access to information, privacy, and other rights. Balancing government's interest in accessing information for national security purposes and the interests of individuals and organizations to safeguard privacy and confidentiality is not easy. This balancing act grows more complicated each day with the proliferation of new devices and telecommunications technologies.
Countries that want to succeed in the global economy should embrace policies that support IT-enabled innovation, which is likely to be more important to national security in the long-term than temporary crackdowns on certain technologies.
When used appropriately, information technology and innovation can enhance prosperity and the quality of life for all people. Governments and private sector stakeholders should work toward arrangements that address government's twin interests in protecting security and advancing innovation and prosperity."