Saudi Arabia, Second Country to Ban BlackBerry Over ‘Security’ Concerns

August 4, 2010

(ChattahBox)—As expected, Saudi Arabia followed in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, by banning the use of Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry devices within its borders, citing security concerns. RIM’s proprietary encrypted data system prevents the routine monitoring of Internet and email traffic. In other words, the Gulf nations can’t spy on BlackBerry communications and they don’t like it. Saudi Arabia released a cryptic message announcing the ban beginning on Friday, saying the BlackBerry “in its present state does not meet regulatory requirements.”

The Communications and Information Technology Commission, added “CITC has informed the three mobile telecommuications providers more than a year ago of the need to quickly fulfill with the manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets the required regulatory requirements.”

The United Arab Emirates announced a ban of BlackBerry’s data services, beginning October 11, due to security concerns, but phone service would still be permitted.

Saudi Arabia seems to be instituting a complete ban on BlackBerry devices.

India has also expressed concerns over the inability to monitor BlackBerry’s encrypted data, but so far the country has not banned the smartphones.

Executives with RIM are adamant in preserving the security features of their popular smartphones. And according to a report by the BBC, RIM denies reports that it has offered some countries different accommodations with respect to its encryption services:

Satchit Gayakwad, RIM’s India spokesman, “We won’t compromise on the security architecture of our corporate e-mails.” “We respect the requirements of regulatory bodies in terms of security, but we also look at the customer’s need for privacy,” he said.

Gayakwad added that RIM cooperated with all governments “with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect.”

About 750,000 BlackBerry devices are used in Saudi Arabia.


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