BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has agreed to work with London authorities as they begin their investigation into recent riots. According to some Londoners, rioters were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, along with social networks such as Twitter, to organize the attacks. “It is clear that technology is being used, including in demonstrations, to direct people and undermine the police,” London’s deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told Bloomberg. “It is not for us to to moan about this, but to adapt policing style and deal with it.” RIM typically prides itself on the security of its BBM service and has denied access to governments worried the chat platform could be used for planning terrorist attacks. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” RIM wrote in a recent tweet. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” Read on for more. More →
Coming on the heels of the United Arab Emirates announcement, the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (SCITC) has asked wireless companies in Saudi Arabia to stop BlackBerry service beginning on August 5th. CNN reports that the Saudi government is claiming, “the manufacturer of the devices [RIM] couldn’t meet the regulatory requirements of the commission and it is not in accordance with the regulations and conditions of licenses issued to service providers, at its present state.” The mandate will apply to both business and individual BlackBerry users. Saudi officials claim they are, “asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance — and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight — that BlackBerry grants the U.S. and other governments and nothing more.” RIM has not officially commented on the SCITC’s decision. More →
Apparently unable to work out a solution to get BlackBerry devices “compliant” with the UAE, the country has stated that it will disable BlackBerry services on October 11th. The Director of the Telecommunication Regulation Authority had this to say:
“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.”
All United Arab Emirate carriers are set to comply with the decision. There is also no timetable for a “compliant solution” to be integrated. We’d love to be on the internal RIM email chain this morning…
Thanks, to everyone who sent this over!
Update: We have heard Saudi Arabia is also blocking BlackBerry data services, but unlike the UAE, it is being suspended as of today. Can anyone confirm?
Update 2: Saudi Arabia has started blocking BlackBerry Messenger at this time, but not email, web browsing, or other data services. More →