Monday, August 02, 2010

UAE - Govt will suspend Blackberry services from 11th October as they threaten national security

[wsj] The United Arab Emirates telecommunications regulator has decided to suspend some BlackBerry services in the country from Oct. 11 until agreement is reached to bring the smartphone in line with local regulations.

The U.A.E. government last week said Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry was a potential threat to national security, while an Indian government official said Indian security agencies have raised unspecified concerns about BlackBerry services.

"Etisalat was informed today by the U.A.E. Telecom Regulatory Authority to suspend BlackBerry services providing email, web browsing, instant messaging and social networking from October 11, 2010 until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied which brings the BlackBerry services in line with the UAE's telecommunications regulations," Etisalat said in an emailed statement.

The U.A.E. regulator, in a statement posted on the emirates' news agency, or WAM, said BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry email and BlackBerry Web-browsing services would be affected by the service suspension.

Etisalat said it fully understands the legal and social considerations behind the U.A.E. regulator decision. "In line with its commitment towards its customers, Etisalat will soon be announcing a range of alternative mobility products and services for its existing BlackBerry customers," it added.

Research in Motion's email-delivery system is one of the main reasons for its success, but as the company expands internationally its airtight encryption of emails and instant messages is drawing scrutiny from some foreign governments, who want access to this content in the name of national security. International sales accounted for 46% of RIM's revenue in its latest quarter, up from 31% a year earlier.

Officials from RIM weren't immediately available for comment Sunday.

U.A.E. to Suspend Some BlackBerry Services

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