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BlackBerry Services To Be Halted In UAE 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the blocking-the-tip-of-an-iceberg dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "Bloomberg is reporting RIM's BlackBerry Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing services will be suspended in the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East's business hub, starting October 11th due to security concerns. RIM faces similar restrictions in India. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a statement on state-run Emirates News Agency, 'In their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE.' A senior Indian government official said, 'Though RIM has been fully cooperating ever since the matter was taken up with it in 2008, reports of the company's move to set up a server in China forced us to look at it in a different way.'"
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BlackBerry Services To Be Halted In UAE

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  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:19AM (#33100752) Homepage

    The UAE's telecoms regulator said the move had 'nothing to do with censorship' ...except where the monitoring leads to censorship. That is, you can say all you want on the phone, but the censorship would be done off the network.

    Sounds like they're bitter about being caught with their hands in the cookie jar with the Etisalat attempt.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:19AM (#33100754)

    'In their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE.'

    This roughly translates to this.

    The BlackBerry lets you have the possibility of expressing nonofficial opinions regarding the government/state/religion and our secret police force may not be able to find you and break your fucking shins and toss you in a dungeon until you realize the error of your ways and die.

  • by ControlsGeek (156589) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:34AM (#33100798)

    Wasn't Barrack Obama's right to keep his Blackberry after he became President questioned because the server was hosted in Waterloo Ontario, at Blackberry's headquarters in Canada ? Blackberry's elliptical curve encryption algorithm ( formerly from Certicom) must be pretty tight.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:37AM (#33100808)

    What are they afraid of, some guy might exchange Blackberry PINs with an unmarried woman?

    Prince warns S. Arabia of apocalypse [aljazeera.com]

    'He warned that the Saudi royal family is no longer able to "impose" itself on people, arguing that deviations in carrying out the religious concepts that make up the basis of the Saudi government "have gotten out of our hands," so that the opposition views our acts as "interfering in people's private life and restricting their liberties."

    "If we are wise, we must leave this country to its people, whose dislike for us is increasing," said Prince Turki, advising Saudi officials to escape with their families.'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:43AM (#33100826)

    No it was questioned because of the concern that some people would have a direct line to the president and others won't, thereby creating a situation of undue influence. I don't remember completely but I think one of the restrictions placed on his use is that it is only family and his staff that he can contact with the phone.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:56AM (#33100872) Journal

    and enemies of Israel that they are.

    Heh. I like that the House of Saud are such pieces of shit that even pro- and anti- Israel types can agree on their utter contempt for the corrupt oppressive bastards. :)

    It's amazing that the people of the US allow their government to keep propping it up. Without the US support, they'd have been overthrown by their people long ago. It's a fucking monarchy in the 21st Century. We should be ashamed as a species.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:01AM (#33100906) Journal

    Amazing how an entire society seemingly hangs by the flimsy thread of a rogue blackberry user... Ban these dangerous devices like nuclear and biological weapons, for they will be the fall of society!

    Weapons are a threat to people. Information is a threat to governments.

  • by tivoKlr (659818) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:17AM (#33100956) Journal
    OK, I am an Obama supporter, but this disappoints me. Maybe it was just being starstruck when entering the oval office that would allow him to relinquish his right to make/receive phone calls, but this would be my first move to tell the SS to F-OFF when they tell me who I can and can't call on my own phone, if I were president...

    Since my only historical transgression seems to be shared by our president, I suppose sometime in the future, if I get pissed off enough, I could be in his shoes, and at said moment, I hope that I would have the sack to impose my will on my subordinates.

    I would understand if there was some sort of security concern but this smacks of censorship of the President.
  • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:20AM (#33100966) Homepage
    Just about every Emirati out there has either an iPhone, a Blackberry or both. It's a land of new money run riot, both for the locals and the expats - flaunting what you have, no matter how vulgar the behaviour, is the order of the day and "understated" doesn't appear in the dictionary. RIM's best strategy on this would probably be to refuse to back down and wait for the inevitable shit storm from the Emirati's who are no longer able to send and receive email. Worst case scenario is that they lose a tiny, albeit affluent, market. Big deal.
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:27AM (#33100994) Homepage

    There are some Islamic-ruled countries with wrecked economies, but some of them (such as UAE and Saudi Arabia, the ones we're talking about here) are in pretty good shape, and as long as the petroleum holds out, their economies will remain pretty damn successful.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:33AM (#33101022) Homepage

    "India has always shown a greater commitment to democracy than China ever has."

    That's... an understatement. In many ways, they do it better and with more commitment (e.g. higher voter turn-out) than the West does.

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:56AM (#33101126) Journal

    Maybe the people would form a stable government, and I quite agree that they should be given the best opportunity to do so. There's no reason, though, to believe that US support is the only thing keeping most of the country in the dark ages. There are plenty of African countries that are at least as fucked up as Saudi Arabia without US sponsorship.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @11:02AM (#33101138) Journal

    They're a scummy government.

    But they're an "ally", economic, military, and otherwise.. They are a safe haven for blood money, lots of it. So they can be as scummy as they want.. That's what predatory capitalism is all about.. And the only people who get in trouble are those who try to point that out. That aspect seems to be getting more prevalent these days, as illustrated by the wikileaks thing.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @12:06PM (#33101412) Homepage

    Wasn't Barrack Obama's right to keep his Blackberry after he became President questioned because the server was hosted in Waterloo Ontario, at Blackberry's headquarters in Canada ?

    No, it's because there are records retention requirements in government. Remember Sarah Palin and her personal email account? Same thing goes, here.

  • by gtall (79522) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @12:38PM (#33101602)

    Yep, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that if only the Saudi Arabian people voted in their own government, that government would turn out to be an enlightened democracy full of minority rights and respect for other religions. Instead, it would be a theocracy and probably worse than Iran's. The only non-gov. organization in that country which could count on the people's support would be the mullahs skulking in their mosques. Their notion of government is Fascist, just like Iran, with the added force of Islam to keep any one with an independent opinion in line. Their first edict after taking power would be to arm Hamas to the teeth in preparation for the next Israel-Islamic war. And they'd do it as soon as they can because they feel they are in competition with the Shi'ites in Iran and their dogs, Hezbollah, to be the leaders of the next "Final Solution" to their Jewish problem. However, the Jews here are a mere football to be used in conflict between the Sunni's and Shi'ites for the soul of Islam.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @05:12PM (#33103706)

    There are plenty of African countries that are at least as fucked up as Saudi Arabia without US sponsorship.

    You're forgetting that the Saudi Arabian government is propped up partially by our willingness to sell them advanced weaponry. [fas.org] How many F-16s do we sell to Congo?

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @08:38PM (#33105598)

    Current iPhones (and the 3Gs) encrypts the whole storage, which is why you can remote wipe them instantly

    What's the encryption got to do with the ability to wipe the data?

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