BlackBerry faces bans in Middle East, India
Authorities in a host of Middle East countries and India are considering bans on RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones because of concerns about the security of the devices.
The United Arab Emirates Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced Sunday that BlackBerry email and web browsing would be banned from October 11 after three years of talks with RIM failed.
BlackBerry data services were the only such services in the UAE to be stored and managed off-shore, which allowed users of the devices “to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE,” the TRA stated.
TRA director general Mohamed Al Ghanim said the two local operators, Etisalat and du, had been advised of the ruling.
“The TRA notes that Blackberry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern.”
The UAE includes regional commercial hub Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and four other states.
Officials in Saudi Arabia are likely to follow their neighbor’s lead, with Kuwait also considering a ban based on the UAE and Saudi decisions, gulfnews.com reports.
However, Kuwait could prove more lenient by allowing the RIM services to continue if a local service provider was involved, the news site said.
Meanwhile, Indian authorities have told RIM to set up a proxy server in the country to enable security agencies to monitor email traffic Bloomberg reported Friday.
The Canadian company had assured the government it would address India’s security concerns, U.K. Bansal, a senior official with domestic security responsibilities, told Bloomberg.
India’s three largest mobile operators, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone, all sell the BlackBerry.