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UAE lifts threat of BlackBerry ban

Mobile News
October 8, 2010

TRA removes threat of BlackBerry ban in UAE after “positive engagement and collaboration” with RIM

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has confirmed that Blackberry services are now compliant with the UAE’s telecommunications regulatory framework and a ban will not come in place next week.

TRA had previously threatened to ban numerous BlackBerry services from October 11 over fears of their use by criminals and terrorists. It had wanted greater access to data transferred across the BlackBerry network, which is encrypted and transmitted directly to servers overseas.

TRA previously said: “As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions.”

In a new statement, the TRA said: “TRA has confirmed today that all Blackberry services in the UAE will continue to operate as normal and no suspension of service will occur on October 11, 2010.

“The TRA would like to acknowledge the positive engagement and collaboration of Research In Motion (RIM) in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome.”

No details of what action has been taken to sate the UAE telecommunication regulator was given, but IHS Global Insight telecoms analyst Shardul Shrimani said it was likely RIM had agreed to a technical arangement permitting the UAE authorities limited access.

Shrimani said: “There seem to be two possible outcomes to this agreement. Either the UAE allowed RIM to provide the same services, realising the threats from BlackBerry services are extremely limited, or they have come to some sort of technical agreement—the most likely outcome—where RIM would allow the UAE government to have limited access to BlackBerry data by providing an encryption key in extreme circumstances.

“Due to the lengthy talks RIM has had with the UAE government in recent months, some sort of deal would have likely gone ahead. RIM would have taken a tough stance as security of user data is core to its business model and the success of its handsets for businesses and government agencies around the world.”

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