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UAE to suspend all Blackberry services in October

UAE to block BlackBerry services on security fears

Published:

The UAE said Sunday it will block key features on BlackBerry smart phones, citing national security concerns because the devices operate beyond the government's ability to monitor their use.

The UAE said it would halt Blackberry services until an "acceptable solution" is developed and applied

UAE going further in the ban

"In the public interest, we have today informed the providers of telecommunications services in the country of our decision to suspend the Blackberry services of messenger, email and electronic browsing," Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) chief Mohammed al-Ghanem said.

"It's a final decision but we are continuing discussions with them," Ghanem, told Reuters.

"Censorship has got nothing to do with this. What we are talking about is suspension due to the lack of compliance with UAE telecommunications regulations."

Officials at the smartphone's manufacturer Research In Motion of Canada were not immediately available for comment.

The suspension of Blackberry Messenger, email and web browsing services comes after attempts dating back to 2007 to bring the service into line with regulations, according to the TRA.

"Today's decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE," the state news agency WAM reported.

"Blackberry data is immediately exported offshore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. Blackberry data services are currently the only data services operating in the UAE where this is the case."

The decision will not affect users of rival Nokia and Apple's iPhone smartphones.

BlackBerry, which holds around 20 percent of the global smartphone market behind Nokia but ahead of Apple, has an estimated 500,000 users in the UAE.

Last week, the Gulf Arab state said that the Blackberry, is open to misuse that poses security risks.

Bahrain in April warned against the use of Blackberry Messenger software to distribute local news and India raised security concerns with the Canadian company last week.

Censorship has got nothing to do with this. What we are talking about is suspension due to the lack of compliance with UAE telecommunications regulations

TRA chief Mohammed al-Ghanem