[QODLink]
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
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
join our mailing list