Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia, RIM close to a deal

August 10th at 11:50 AM

Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia, RIM close to a deal

There is a bit of a soap opera going on in the Middle East between Canadian handset manufacturer Research In Motion and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The synopsis of the situation goes like this:

Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Saudi Arabia is allowing RIM, and wireless providers, to continue providing BlackBerry messaging services to customers and has not communicated another deadline for compliance. As the article reads, “the fact that there is no new deadline indicates they are close to a solution.” The Communications and Information Technology Commission, the country’s telecommunication regulator, has said it wants a system in place that will allow it to monitor BlackBerry communications in order to prevent terrorism and ensure national security. The report says that Saudi Telecom Co. and the two other major wireless carriers are all testing systems that would “avert a threatened suspension of the messaging service.” More →


Washington Post: UAE BlackBerry data ban to be enforced on visitors/tourists as well

August 3rd at 8:49 AM

Washington Post: UAE BlackBerry data ban to be enforced on visitors/tourists as well

The Washington Post is reporting that the United Arab Emirates’ plan to enforce a BlackBerry data ban on its citizens will extend to tourists and visitors of the country as well. As the Post puts it, the governments security policies are, “in direct conflict with the country’s ambitions to be a business and tourism haven.” Beginning October 11th even those with Blackberrys issued outside of the UAE will be without email, messaging, and web capabilities while visiting the Middle Eastern nation (the handsets will still be able to make phone calls). Roughly one hundred thousand people travel in and out of the Dubai International Airport every day, many of them on business. The U.S. State Department called the policy, “a move in the wrong direction.” More →


BlackBerry services to be suspended in the UAE starting October 11th

August 1st at 9:34 AM

BlackBerry services to be suspended in the UAE starting October 11th

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 →


AP: UAE calls BlackBerrys a "security threat"

July 26th at 11:02 AM

AP: UAE calls BlackBerrys a "security threat"

The AP is reporting that the United Arab Emirates has declared BlackBerry smartphones a national security risk. UAE government officials commented saying the handsets “operate beyond the jurisdiction of national laws and are open to misuse. […] 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.” The State is referring to the relaying of data — for compression and optimization — through RIM’s BlackBerry infrastructure data centers. RIM has not released an official comment, and members of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority have said no decisions about the handsets future in the UAE have been made.

Thanks, Mitch. More →