US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the impending BlackBerry bans proposed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, acknowledging the potential security risks of such devices but citing the "legitimate right of free use and access" to them as well.
At a news conference this morning, Clinton said:
We are taking time to consult and analyse the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there's also a legitimate right of free use and access. So I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go.
That response, thankfully, is a touch more diplomatic than Research In Motion CEO Mike Lazaridis's suggestion that these countries should just shut off the internet, "if they can't deal with [it] ".
Earlier this week, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley said that they considered this issue - the free and unfettered use of communications devices - "an important element of democracy". Good to know, both for when these types of things pop up abroad and for whenever they might start to rumble here at home. [Wall Street Journal]