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UAE regulator moves to ban secure BlackBerry services

The telecoms regulator of the UAE has gone ahead with the decision to prohibit certain corporate email services offered by Research In Motion, creator of the BlackBerry. The regulator’s objection stems from encryption software used by RIM to prevent third parties from monitoring traffic across its servers.

Details of the ban, which will be imposed on May 1st, have not yet been finalised , but according to a spokesperson from the regulator the ban will be imposed upon individuals and firms in which under 20 employees hold a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) account. Subscribers will be able to continue accessing the service, but only via BlackBerry Internet Service accounts, which are more easily monitored.

RIM has clarified that the ban will not apply only to BlackBerry services, stating that the telecom authorities have “confirmed to RIM that any potential policy regarding enterprise services in the UAE would be an industry-wide policy, applying equally to all enterprise solution providers and with the intent of avoiding any impact on legitimate enterprise customers."

Last year, the threat of a ban on BlackBerry services in the UAE appeared to have been dispelled; however, it is thought that the recent unrest in the Middle East may have rekindled the UAE’s security concerns. Many of the anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East have been facilitated and in some cases organised via telecommunication services.

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