back to article UAE unbans BlackBerrys

The United Arab Emirates has cancelled the planned ban on RIM's BlackBerry service, saying that it no longer represents a threat to national security, but not explaining why. The ban had been scheduled to start on Monday, but the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has now decided against implementing the ban as " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The Indian Government

    Got to hand it to the Indian Government. Demanding access to private communications on the grounds of national security. Maybe they were hoping to intercept someone buuilding a bridge.

    1. limonovich


      God forbid a structurally-safe bridge at that.

      Grenade because, it's more safe to play catch with a grenade than to walk on Indian bridges.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A big sigh of relief...

    ... from UAE fans of the M&S website swimwear section.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    The new blackberries

    are going to be of clamshell form-factor so they can bend over just as readily as RIM did.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds about right

    You mean after the immediate hoo-ha, no one really gave a frigging monkey's about the UAE and what they though about RIM/Blackberry? So the UAE, like some spoilt little brat, got the attention they wanted, but as any good parent knows, once your little sods start with you, you do NOT back-down or give in to them as that means they win!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @sounds about right

      As the UAE is one of the countries that own much Wall Street and most of London a lot of people are concerned about what 'they' think.

      Including, it appears, RIM.

  5. John Sanders

    This is bad...

    Very bad indeed.

    The west has no principles, just a business plan.

    Let's review for a second; We're on the middle of some horrible economic crisis (one most people is not aware yet) most of the productive force has been moved to China, India and any other country that pays slavery salaries to its workers. Most of the technological know-how is being transferred there for no good reason than penny savings (big picture guys!)

    The only thing we have left is a somewhat defective system where people is mostly* free.

    But again if freedom, privacy or right to speech get in the way of a good business plan...

    1. Rolf Howarth

      Re: This is bad...

      That's just Western cultural imperialism. What gives us the right to impose *our* particular ideas about freedoms and rights on other civilizations and cultures? (Some of whom have been getting on just fine on their own far long than ours has, thank you very much.)

      You're absolutely right that we're in big trouble long term with the growth in power of China and India, but that's not because of some grand business plan. It's down to short termism. We're so greedy and short sighted and obsessed with personal rights of everyone to do whatever they want, and to hell with the consequences, that we're quite happy to mortgage our futures for some short term benefit now.

      Collectively, the West is like a cocaine addict, desperate for their next fix, while China is like the dealer or loan shark who's perfectly happy to lend money to anyone who asks for it because they know how dependent they'll be on them long term.

      Remind me again why questioning the right of all these BlackBerry-using junkies to do what they want, when they want, is a bad thing?

    2. Big-nosed Pengie
      Paris Hilton

      The west has no principles, just a business plan.

      And this is news?

      The process is:

      10. Does it make money?

      20. If yes, do it.

      30. If no, go to 10.

      Paris, because 10 is "Does it feel good?"

  6. Anonymous Coward

    BIS not BES

    Consumer devices run on a BIS at the telco so were always more open to government snooping. The query here is with private BES networks. This must mean that RIM have now built in a backdoor to the private BES architecture - they had previously said that this was technically impossible. Would be interesting to get a statement from RIM on the matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      I may be wrong

      But i think its more of an issue with BIS than BES, their issue was that BIS serives were also excrypted from the Telco, and exported straight to Canada, the telco wants access to everything, but RIM will more than likley have said, look we can put the servers in UAE, let you access the BIS info (which includes BBM data for bes, as BBM does not got through BES), and if you think they companies have terrorists they need to comply to any demands as companies anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...exported straight to Canada

        Servers appear to either in the USA or the UK. UK servers for the UAE and India. UAE and India were not asking for anything not already available to the USA and UK.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    from the UAE

    I have lived in the UAE for several years, this whole PR disaster is par for the course.

    They know as well as we do that terrorists don't run round plotting to blow up airliners on Blackberry chat because they'd assume the yanks or canucks can bug it.

    So the only 'threats to national security' the UAE is worried about is whether their daughters are shock! horror! sending a text to a boy (who isn't their brother), or SHOCK! HORROR!! unveiling their face and maybe even sharing a car with a boy (who is not their brother).

    If you did succeed in banning the things, the kids will just move onto using other online encrypted systems instead. Already there is talk of banning gmail for precisely this reason - because running under https, the spooks cannot monitor the youth of the nation.

    If I was RIM (and I am sure they have someone with as much local knowledge as me), I would not give one inch. I would only explain to them that the UAE is a tiny part of my business but that Blackberry is a vital tool for many of the business people they hope to attract here. I would also explain that I would rather forfeit the prospect of business in the UAE than lose the trust worldwide of Blackberry users. The only concession I would make is to agree not to admit publicly that I gave no ground whatsoever, so the UAE could at least limp away with a little pride intact. Take it or leave it (of course, they'll take it - they have no choice, really).

    When all your government and civil service jobs are appointed purely on the basis of family connections, you're going to end up with idiots in charge. Combine that with a culture of deference, an aversion to consultation, rule by decree and a censored media, and you have a government that makes stupid decisions without realizing how stupid until it's all over the UK papers. And then they have no choice but to back down and look even more inept.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...lose the trust worldwide of Blackberry users.

      With the encrypted connections terminating in a couple of Western countries which have laws requiring cooperation with authorites w.r.t. interception, perhaps that trust is misplaced. Maybe that would be why some sections of the German government have been told not to use Blackberries for government business.

  8. mafoo


    I wonder how many companies will now ban their employees from using Blackberries in the UAE. They would probably like to use VOIP though a VPN, but on wait...

    Seems satellite phones are going to star to become popular.

  9. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The "terrorist" argument is rubbish

    Terrorists will not use the same device twice - it would make them traceable. So that argument fails immediately. The second argument is the need for law enforcement legal intercept, which every telco in the world has to offer as a condition of license - so that's not an issue either (SMS has not been secure from the day it was introduced, so we can skip that too).

    The only argument could be the encrypted comms (email) - all they need to do is to mandate that local Blackberries use servers in the country, so warrants could be served. When it comes to stopping the US from tapping the locals, same argument.

    It's a weird one.

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