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Middle East
Saudi ban on BlackBerry from Friday
Ban on Blackberry messneger reportedly due to security concerns.
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2010 04:33 GMT
There are some 700,000 BlackBerry users
in Saudi Arabia [AFP]

Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator has ordered mobile operators to halt BlackBerry services from August 6.

The Saudi state news agency SPA in a report on Tuesday said that the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) asked "Saudi Telecom Co, Mobily and Zain Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the BlackBerry service in the country starting Friday.

SPA said the suspension of service was being implemented because BlackBerry service "in its present state does not meet regulatory requirements".

"CITC has informed the three mobile telecommunications providers more than a year ago of the need to quickly fulfil with the manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets the required regulatory requirements," it added.

Security concerns

Sources from the state-controlled Saudi Telecom, which is the kingdom's biggest telecom operator by market share, said the ban on Blackberry Messenger was due mainly to security concerns.

Saudi Arabia has about 700,000 BlackBerry users of which some 80 per cent are individual users.

The device is a big success, especially among youths who use its Messenger function to interact with members of the opposite sex and exchange jokes and pictures in a deeply conservative society.

The United Arab Emirates also threatened on Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless its maker, Research in Motion (RIM), gives it access to encrypted messages.

India is also in talks with RIM over how information is managed on the devices. Like the UAE, it has cited security concerns in pushing for greater access to encrypted information sent by the phones that gets routed through the Canadian company's computers overseas.

Source:
Agencies
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