Gulf nations ban BlackBerry web functions over ‘security issues’


Saudia Arabia and The United Arab Emirates are both banning some of BlackBerry internet-based functions over 'security issues'. BlackBerry owners in two Gulf states will soon have their handsets' functions restricted under a ban imposed by the countries' governments.

People in the the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will not be able to send emails, access the internet or send instant messages to each other, whereas Saudi Arabians will be banned from using the BlackBerry-to-BlackBerry instant-messaging service. There are around 500,000 BlackBerry owners in the UAE, and 400,000 in Saudi Arabia.


It is claimed that both states don't like the fact that they cannot see what is being sent through these methods, which has caused serious security concerns. By not allowing authorities access to what is sent via these communications the services break local laws.

The UAE's telecoms regulator, TRA, said in a statement that this lack of compliance caused "judicial, social and national security concerns".

TRA will suspend these services from 11 October. Saudi Telecom will introduce the ban later this month.

TRA director general Mohammed al-Ghanem denied that the governments were trying to censor users, saying: "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."

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