UAE to Suspend Blackberry Service On Security Fears

The United Arab Emirates will suspend use of Blackberry services in October, citing concerns about security risks, the state news agency said on Sunday. The UAE said it would halt Blackberry services until an "acceptable solution" is developed and applied. "It's a final decision but we are continuing discussions with them," Mohammed Al Ghanem, director general of the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) 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, the UAE's TRA said. "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 said. "Blackberry data is immediately exported offshore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organisation. 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.