One gigantic technological step backward in the UAE: Banning Blackberry functions

Posted on August 1, 2010


Commentary from Rafik: Strategic myopia and one gigantic step backward: UAE acts to muzzle Blackberry. While the remainder of the world moves forward, Middle Eastern Arab countries are especially good at find unimaginable ways at shackling their own people and slowing any kind of progress. Here we go again. In the past, they would have banned messenger doves too because these too could not be monitored!!!


Two Gulf states have announced bans on some functions of the Blackberry mobile phone, claiming security concerns.

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.
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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”.

The UAE’s telecoms regulator, TRA, said the lack of compliance with local laws raised “judicial, social and national security concerns”.

RIM has yet to comment on either case.

There are an estimated 500,000 Blackberry users in the UAE, and 400,000 in Saudi Arabia. [Please click here to read the remainder of the article]