Saudi gives Blackberry reprieve

A Saudi man speaks on his Blackberry The ban was due to have been implemented on 6 August.

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Saudi Arabia's telecommunications regulator has said it will allow BlackBerry services to continue in the kingdom for now.

The country was due to enforce a ban on the devices on 6 August, but this did not come into effect.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said there had been "positive developments" in its talks with the device's manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM).

RIM has yet to comment on the matter.

"In light of the positive developments toward addressing some of the organisational requirements by the providers, the commission [has] decided to allow the BlackBerry Messenger service to continue," the CITC said.

Wider concerns

Saudi Arabia - and an increasing number of other nations - are unhappy that BlackBerry handsets automatically scramble messages and send them to servers in Canada.

Authorities have said they want access to these messages - and the keys to decrypt them - to counter terrorism and criminal activity.

So far, Research In Motion has resisted any attempts to force it to open up its data.

However, the plan being discussed with Saudi Arabia reportedly involves placing a BlackBerry server in the country.

On Saturday, a Saudi official told the Associated Press news agency that tests were under way to see how such a server would work.

An agreement could help overcome similar concerns in other countries, such as India and the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE has said it will ban Blackberry e-mail, messaging and web browsing in October.

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