Yesterday was not such a great day for BlackBerry executives who were in constant talks with their UAE counterparts and also with the UAE Telecom regulators over UAE’s decision to block key features on BlackBerry smart phones citing national security concerns because BlackBerry’s messages and communications are encrypted and secure with no access to any one including the government.
Not just UAE but even Saudi Aabia plans to follow a similar suit if BlackBerry does not let the government decrypt its secure communication.
Today Washington Post reported that the crackdown might be more severe that it was anticipated to be with it being enforced even to foreign visitors and tourists.
The ban is set to be enforced starting October 11 of this year. BlackBerry has about 500,000 local subscribers and the immediate effects of the ban will be felt. The ban will block the handset’s ability to e-mail, send text messages and access web services. The handsets will merely be dumb cell phones good for only a phone call.
BlackBerry’s transmissions are routed to its company servers which are based in Canada and this raises major concerns to UAE since all messages are secure and it is difficult for local authorities to monitor for illegal activity or abuse.
Many industry analysts say that the ban might not be enforced and might only be a pressure tactic. UAE is the center hub for the business community and many reply on the BlackBerry for communication and email. It is unlikely that the governement will make such a harsh move.
You can read more here.