Saudi follows suit, bans BlackBerry

As predicted, Saudi Arabia has followed in UAEs shoes and axed BlackBerry services.


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”.

There are an estimated 500,000 Blackberry users in the UAE, and 400,000 in Saudi Arabia.

If ever there was a proof of backward thinking, this is definately it. This fosters the idea of destroying that which one does not understand, instead of pursuing a higher moral road and actually attempting to understand.
This paragraph takes the cake, icing et all:
“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.”
If it lacks compliance with telecom regulations, why was it initiated in the first place?
In closing:
While the UAE was playing a “technological leadership role in the Arab world”, this was backed by “repressive laws” and a “general trend of intensified surveillance”.
 BBC Middle East business reporter Ben Thompson said the threat by the UAE was likely an attempt to wring concessions out of RIM.

“Many see this as little more than a power play from the UAE authorities – an attempt to force RIM to handover the security codes or face losing a lucrative market.”

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