Saudi Arabia to enact first BlackBerry ban on Friday
With several other countries threatening a BlackBerry ban, the smartphone's parent company stands to lose 2 million of its 46 million users worldwide.
(Page 2 of 2)
Global security toolSkip to next paragraph
2011 Reflections: Suddenly, a new era in the Middle East
2011 Reflections: the end of a landmark year for Latin America
2011 Reflections: Africa rises, taking charge of its affairs
How the 'Year of the Protester' played out in Europe
In Prague, a tale of communism past
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
“The ability to tap communications is a part of surveillance and intelligence and law enforcement all over the world,” he said.
UAE has said it is open to finding an alternative solution to banning BlackBerrys outright.
RIM has showed a willingness to make some concessions, such as putting a server in India. Industry experts also believe that RIM may have yielded to some concerns on China's part before introducing BlackBerrys there, reports the Associated Press.
But Mike Lazaridis, the company’s founder, has said he will not allow foreign governments to monitor messages sent on the BlackBerry network. Doing so would compromise RIM’s customer relationships, in particular with major companies and law-enforcement agencies that rely on the smart phones' encrypted data network.
“I am very empathetic to their concerns and what they go through,” Mr. Lazaridis told The New York Times. “But every country goes through these things. We have to be prepared for the ramifications of the decisions we make.”
'That's the cost of doing business in the UAE'
As RIM and the concerned governments work to come to an agreement, at least two telecommunications companies in the UAE have begun putting together plans that will allow BlackBerry users to easily switch to a new handset that will be unaffected by the ban – without hitting users' wallets too hard.
Still, that’s of little consolation to many of the 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE who don’t want to deal with the hassle of switching phones.
“There are a lot of businesspeople who are very angry about this, but that’s the cost of doing business in the UAE. That’s the position of the government," says Karasik. "There are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed, and you have to remember that the businesses are guests in the country, so they are subject to the laws of the state.”
- BlackBerry ban: Is UAE trying to crack down on Dubai's wild ways?
- The new Casablanca: Why Dubai draws Iran, intrigue, and tusk smugglers
- BlackBerry Torch 9800 launch clouded by security spat with UAE