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UAE Blocking BlackBerry Devices Starting October 11th

surveillance-webcamThings were starting to look good between India and RIM but UAE stepped into the mix recently threatening to shut down BlackBerry service. We mentioned that their Telecommunications Regulator Authority claimed that RIM was operating outside the law and causing national security issues.

Now things have heated up even further with the UAE TRA claiming that:

With no solution available and in the public interest, in order to affect resolution of this issue, as of October 11, 2010, Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry Email and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied.

You can read the full TRA announcement below or at this link. This all makes me wonder if RIM will just bend over and let them monitor all traffic or if they will just let UAE go. It gets even more interesting that Saudi Arabia also claims they will follow in the UAE’s footsteps…

August 01, 2010

The TRA confirmed today that Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry E-mail and Blackberry Web-browsing services in the UAE will be suspended as of October 11th 2010. The suspension is a result of the failure of ongoing attempts, dating back to 2007, to bring Blackberry services in the UAE in line with UAE telecommunications regulations.

Both telecommunications operators – Etisalat and du – were informed of the decision earlier today. The notification was delivered with an instruction to ensure minimal consumer disruption in the provision of alternative services.

All Blackberry services fall within the UAE regulatory framework developed by the TRA since 2007, however because of Blackberry’s technical configuration, some Blackberry services operate beyond the enforcement these regulations.

Blackberry data is immediately exported off-shore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. Blackberry data services are currently the only data services operating in the UAE where this is the case.

Today’s decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE. 

Commenting on the announcement TRA Director General Mohamed Al Ghanim said: “With no solution available and in the public interest, in order to affect resolution of this issue, as of October 11, 2010, Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry Email and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied.”

“We informed both Etisalat and du that providing the option of alternative services to ensure the continuity of service from October 11 to its subscribers – both individuals and organisations – is the most important priority.” Al Ghanim added.

Said Al Ghanim, “The TRA notes that Blackberry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory
environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern.”

6 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I say let UAE and Saudi Arabia go %$#@ themselves. They don’t hold to the same beliefs that we do (although Washington D.C. has really screwed around with all of our freedoms over the last decades) and if RIM bends to their wishes – I’ll be vacating the RIM platform very quickly.

    The Saudi’s are (In My Opinion) the biggest “wolves in sheep clothing.” they have no freedom – just the illusion of it.

  2. Well, as a matter of fact this is a extremely delicate topic since all nations have different beliefs and we must respect it. I don’t exactly know what could RIM do to solve this issue but i highly doubt they will let UAE government to monitor their platform, maybe this is the end of BlackBerry in that market… Lets hope RIM think about something that please both sides.

  3. I hope that’s never happened in Venezuela….. We are to many….

  4. If there is a technical solution that let’s their government spy on their people then RIM should do that. But if that solution opens up the BlackBerry platform to allow them to snoop on ALL BlackBerry Smartphone (visitors from another country say) used in those countries then I say RIM should tell them F U.

  5. Actually you have to be aware that RIM complied with a few countries, such as USA, UK, France and lastly China..
    Plus for your information, terrorists blew bombs in India in 2008 and they were using BBM messenger, and that was why India made all that fuss about it..

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