Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
- The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) issued a directive mandating that all cell phone operators in Pakistan cut off access to BlackBerry Enterprise Services, including messaging and email, by December. Internet traffic between BlackBerry devices and the company’s enterprise servers (BES) is encrypted, making it difficult for Pakistani authorities to intercept BlackBerry-related traffic. It’s unclear whether the PTA will follow through on its ban. India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all once threatened to ban BlackBerry in their jurisdictions but relented when the Canadian company negotiated undisclosed deals with them, presumably to meet their respective security services’ requirements.
- Former top U.S. security officials came out against the FBI’s efforts to require tech companies to have the ability to decrypt data pursuant to a request from law enforcement this week. First, Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA, essentially said the damage a backdoor requirement would do to U.S. industry outweighs the public safety benefits that would accompany easier law enforcement access to encrypted devices. At the same event, Michael Chertoff, former secretary of DHS, was even more blunt, saying that "we do not historically organize our society to make it maximally easy for law enforcement, even with court orders, to get information." Chertoff also penned an op-ed in the Washington Post with former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn in which they argue that the fears of ubiquitous encryption are overblown. It looks like FBI Director James Comey’s sisyphean task just got harder.
- The fight between Google and the French data protection authority is getting nastier. The data protection authority argues that Google’s requirement to comply with European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten decision applies everywhere, not just in Europe. Back in June, the French regulator gave Google fifteen days to comply with a request to remove certain search engine results from all versions of its search engine. Google, in a blog post published yesterday, refused. The U.S. search giant said that removing search results globally would “risks serious chilling effects on the web," noting that the French regulator’s logic would require Google to remove global search results to comply with Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and Russia’s "gay propaganda" laws. The French regulator has yet to respond, though it could levy fines on Google for non-compliance, something the search giant will almost certainly appeal.
- Just two weeks after the FBI and other international law agencies hailed their takedown of Darkode, the cybercrime forum is back as predicted. According to the site’s newest administrator, the new Darkode will operate through Tor on an invite only basis, rendering it more exclusive, and presumably more difficult to penetrate.
- Lastly, today is the last day to submit your comments on the WSIS+10 review process. For the uninitiated, the UN General Assembly will host a summit in December to review the world’s progress in implementing the 2005 Tunis Agenda For the Information Society. Business, civil society, governments, and academia are being asked to provide their views on themes the summit and outcome document should cover. You can submit your comments here.