UAE, Saudi Arabia Ban Blackberry Emails, IMs

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will ban certain Blackberry mobile functions because their governments can’t monitor them. The BBC reports:

The United Arab Emirates is to block sending emails, accessing the internet, and delivering instant messages to other Blackberry handsets. Saudi Arabia is to prevent the use of the Blackberry to Blackberry instant messaging service.

Both nations are unhappy that they are unable to monitor such communications via the handsets. This is because the Blackberry handsets automatically send the encrypted data to computer servers outside of the two countries. The UAE ban is to start in October, while the Saudi move will begin later this month.

Abdulrahman Mazi, a board member of state-controlled Saudi Telecom, has admitted that the decision is intended to put pressure on Blackberry’s Canadian owner, Research in Motion (RIM), to release data from users’ communications “when needed”.

“Censorship has got nothing to do with this. What we are talking about is suspension due to the lack of compliance with UAE telecommunications regulations,” (said a UAE telecom regulator).

Correction: They’re censoring what users do in order to strong-arm RIM into compliance. The UAE sure isn’t advertising itself well with this move. I wonder how RIM will react.

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