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No BlackBerry ban for UAE

TRA announces it will not ban BlackBerry Services

No BlackBerry ban for UAE
BlackBerry services were due to be banned in the UAE from 11th October over security concerns.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced that it will no longer seek to block BlackBerry services from 11th October.

The regulator, which had threatened a ban of the service over security and regulatory concerns, said in a statement today that services were now compliant with the UAE law.

"The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has confirmed that Blackberry services are now compliant with the UAE's telecommunications regulatory framework," said the statement. "Therefore all Blackberry services in the UAE will continue to operate as normal and no suspension of service will occur on October 11, 2010."

The TRA has been in discussions with BlackBerry creator Research in Motion (RIM) since the ban was first proposed at start of August this year. The TRA said that the BlackBerry service was not "in line with UAE telecommunications regulations" and that "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."

The concerns were centred around the encryption of both BlackBerry email and BlackBerry Messenger services, which allow secure encrypted communications, and the lack of access to those messages for security authorities. Both Saudi Arabia and India have also recently raised similar concerns, with some suggestion that the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were orchestrated using BlackBerry devices. Authorities in India this week announced a deal with RIM to give them access to BlackBerry messages on request.

While the TRA statement acknowledged "the positive engagement and collaboration of Research In Motion (RIM) in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome," no details were given as to whether authorities in the UAE now have access to messages sent via BlackBerry, or whether RIM has done a deal similar to the deal with Indian authorities.

At the time of writing, RIM were also not available for comment on the security status of BlackBerry services, and whether they still reach high levels of corporate security requirements.

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