U.A.E to Block BlackBerry E-Mail, Because Gov. Can’t Spy on It

August 2, 2010

(ChattahBox)–BlackBerry’s proprietary encrypted data system is a top selling feature of the popular smartphone, but countries that routinely monitor Internet and email traffic hate it. And the The United Arab Emirates is the first to announce the outright banning of BlackBerry’s email and text messaging services, because of “security concerns.” Other Gulf nations, such as Saudia Arabia and Kuwait may soon follow suit.

The U.A.E. announced on Sunday, starting October 11, BlackBerry’s data services would be blocked, but phone service would still be available. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority released a statement attributing the ban to security issues. (Translation: We can’t spy on it.)

“In their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the U.A.E.,” the agency said.

The reporting by The new York Times, notes that BlackBerry’s maker, Research In Motion, has experienced pushback from the U.A.E and other countries, including India, over the company’s use of encrypted data that’s carried by a proprietary global network:

‘“The U.A.E. has never been a place that offered much in the way of electronic privacy,” said Jim Krane, author of “City of Gold,” a history of Dubai. “The government makes no secret that it monitors electronic communication, including text messages, phone calls and e-mail. The revelation that secure BlackBerry data is frustratingly out of the government’s reach only confirms this.”’

“Other smartphones, like the Apple iPhone, are not tied to one e-mail service. In general, that means e-mail to and from the devices mostly travels over the open Internet and can be relatively easily monitored.”

Because of the BlackBerry’s encrypted data services, the United States permits high-level message to be transmitted over the device.

President Obama made history of sorts, when he became the first president to be allowed to use a personal electronic device on a limited basis. He chose his trusty BlackBerry, with enhanced encryption and security measures.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/ThorstenS/Late President of the UAE Zaid ibn Sultan Al Nahyan, Dubai


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