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BlackBerry co-CEO slams govt attempts to block services

RIM co-founder says "If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off"

Lazaridis said that many regulators did not understand the technology behind BlackBerry and the Internet.
Lazaridis said that many regulators did not understand the technology behind BlackBerry and the Internet.

The co-founder of BlackBerry, Michael Lazaridis, has lashed out at foreign governments over the issue of banning BlackBerry services, saying "if they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off".

Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lazaridis, who is co-CEO of the company said that his company is being unfairly singled out by governments including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are proposing bans of various BlackBerry services for security regions.

Lazaridis told the WSJ: "This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off."

In the interview, Lazaridis said that the problem lay with foreign governments that did not have a good grasp of how BlackBerry technology works, but held out hopes that the issue could be resolved through further discussion.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science," he said.

"We have dealt with this before. This will get resolved. And it will get resolved if there is a chance for rational discussion," Lazridis added.

Saudi Arabia is set to block the BlackBerry Messenger service tomorrow, although RIM was reportedly in discussion with the telecommunications regulator and operators in the country, and was hopeful of for an agreement, according to the WSJ.

The UAE TRA yesterday said that the ban was final, but that it was still open to discussion.

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