BlackBerry wins last minute reprieve in UAE

Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) has won a last minute reprieve in the United Arab Emirates, after reaching a mysterious compliance agreement with the local authorities.

RIM had faced a ban on operating its BlackBerry services in the UAE from next week for being in breach of telecoms regulations. The security of BlackBerry’s network has long been a contentious issue for several governments, because all the BlackBerry traffic travels over RIM’s own secure network and authorities are unable to monitor data in the interests of ‘national security’.

According to the UAE regulator, BlackBerry services including Messenger, email and web browsing would be suspended from October 11 due to non-compliance with regulatory requirements. However, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said Friday that BlackBerry services are now compliant with the telecommunications regulatory framework.

RIM has not revealed details of the agreement put in place to ensure compliance, but it may follow a similar proposal to that in India. In its proposal to the Indian government, RIM extended an offer under which the firm would lead an industry forum “focused on supporting the lawful access needs of law enforcement agencies while preserving the legitimate information security needs of corporations and other organizations”.

This forum would work closely with the local government to develop recommendations for policies and processes aimed at preventing the misuse of strong encryption technologies while preserving its benefits.

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