UAE remains set to ban BlackBerry services: Report

"So far, no progress has been made" in the negotiations on allowing the UAE to access encrypted BlackBerry data, the Dubai daily Emarat Al-Yom cited a UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority official as saying.

Unless that changes, on October 11 the UAE will go ahead with a suspension of BlackBerry services announced in August, the official added.

"The suspension will remain unchanged until we reach a solution that is fully compliant with legislation on telecommunications in the country," the official was quoted as saying.

The UAE announced in early August that BlackBerry services including messenger, web browsing and email would be suspended from October because they "allow individuals to commit violations" that the country cannot monitor.

BlackBerry's encrypted emails and data are stored on servers in Canada, which means that third parties such as security agencies cannot monitor communications sent and received on the handset.

Saudi Arabia announced a BlackBerry services ban soon after the UAE, but lifted it after the kingdom's regulator reported progress in finding a solution for its concerns.

The UAE's two main telecom companies, Etisalat and Du, in August announced options in the event of a ban for Blackberry users who subscribed before the first of that month, including signing a new one-year contract and receiving a new, non-BlackBerry smartphone.
There are an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the oil-rich UAE, which has a population of around six million people.

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