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SA comms minister says government will not regulate BlackBerry services

Roy Padayachie
Roy Padayachie, SA Communications Minister

Yesterday, we posted that the South African government was considering allowing the police access to the BlackBerry encrypted messenger service (BBM) in their operations to catch criminals. The article was based on reports that the South African deputy communications minister, Obed Bapela, had said BBM posed a security risk that the government needed to “address with urgency”. The deputy minister basically said that the SA government wants to review BBM.

Just now, we received a release from an SA PR firm called Africa Practice.According to the release, the SA Communications minister, Roy Padayachie, has issued a statement distancing himself from the utterances of the deputy minister.

In the statement Padayachie denies that the government intends to legislate against BBM. He also mentions that Research In Motion has been willing to work with the South African government to help in cyber crime matters.


Here’s the full statement:

Following the announcement made by Communications Deputy Minister, Mr. Obed Bapela, about the South African government joining in the call to regulate Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger service, Minister of Communications, Mr. Roy Padayachie, wishes to issue the following clarifying statement on the matter.

Mr. Roy Padayachie aligns himself with the statement issued by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jeff Radebe, which states that Government has no intention to regulate or legislate against BlackBerry Encryption messenger services (BBM).The Government is still working on a policy statement on Cyber matters, which will review current regulatory and Legislative instruments with respect to cyberspace matters.

The Minister however, welcomes the willingness of Research In Motion(RIM) to work closely with Government to prevent the abuse of the encrypted messenger services by criminals for unlawful purposes. Government has no intention to intercede or interfere with the privacy of communications between private citizens for lawful purposes.

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