Citing National Security, UAE Bans Some BlackBerry Services

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If you visit the United Arab Emirates after September and you're a BlackBerry user, some of the services you're accustomed to will not work. Regulators announced over the weekend they will block e-mail, messenger and other features of the Research In Motion devices - for national security reasons. According to The Associated Press:

At the heart of their concerns is the way the devices handle data, which is encrypted and routed through RIM's servers overseas. Analysts say that makes messages sent by BlackBerry far more difficult, if not impossible, for authorities to monitor than data which passes solely through domestic computers.


The ban applies to UAE residents and visitors alike, which some observers say is not helping the country's quest to become a "business and tourism haven."


RIM will not comment on discussions it may have had with the regulators, but at the same time is assuring BlackBerry users their data is secure. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The BlackBerry network is designed "to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information under any circumstances." Moreover, the location of BlackBerry's servers doesn't matter, the company said, because the data on them can't be deciphered without a decryption key.


Kuwait and India have also indicated they would like the ability to better monitor BlackBerry data.