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Monday, 02 August 2010 09:05

Blackberry cut off in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Written by Nick Farell


Authorities wanted access to encrypted messages
Blackberry users are likely to lose key services in Saudi Arabia and the UAE because authorities want Research In Motion to give them access to encrypted messages sent over the device. BlackBerry's Messenger application uses encrypted data which is sent to offshore servers, it cannot be tracked locally.

According to Reuters the United Arab Emirates' Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement that certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns. The UAE plans to suspend BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from October 11 until “a fix” was found.

Saudi Arabia has told local telecom companies to freeze Messenger this month. Crackberries are not exactly popular with governments which are keen on security. India apparently has similar security concerns and Bahrain warned against using BlackBerry Messenger to distribute local news. Of course the French also don't like their bureaucrats using it either.

Indian security officials were concerned that BlackBerry's encrypted data could be used to coordinate acts against the state. They have clamped down on mobile phone operators in the wake of 2008 attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai.
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