Technology

United Arab Emirates will not ban Blackberries

An Arabian man speaks on his BlackBerry
Those who use the popular service in UAE will be pleased the ban is lifted

The United Arab Emirates has said it will not go ahead with plans to ban Blackberry services, following talks with maker Research in Motion.

It had threatened to suspend all services from 11 October.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority confirmed that it is satisfied services on the devices are now compliant with its security needs.

It had said Blackberries posed a risk because the network was encrypted and data stored abroad.

Similar bans

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement: "All Blackberry services in the UAE will continue to operate as normal and no suspension of service will occur on October 11, 2010".

The TRA also acknowledged "the positive engagement and collaboration of Research In Motion (RIM) in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome".

Research in Motion (RIM) has found itself at the centre of a series of rows with countries unhappy with the way data is stored on the device.

India and Saudi Arabia have threatened similar bans.

RIM has always made it clear that it would not change the architecture of its service to placate countries wishing to extend their surveillance powers.

"It is unclear what will have changed in the nature of the RIM service," said Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum.

"As such we can only hypothesise that some kind of workaround has been agreed in terms and conditions between the UAE regulator and local carriers ...to gain access to e-mails sent over the Blackberry service," he said.

RIM said in a statement that it would not discuss the details of the discusisions with the TRA. "RIM confirms that it continues to approach lawful access matters internationally within the framework of core principles that were publicly communicated in August," it said.

In August RIM sought to reassure customers that it would only allow governments to access services "in the strict context of lawful access and national security" and that no greater access than that given by rival firms would be granted.

It also stated that it would make no changes to the security architecture for Blackberry business customers.

At the time it said: "Contrary to any rumours, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys."

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