BlackBerry looks into censorship

2010-03-07 19:08

Riyadh - Makers of the popular BlackBerry smartphones said on Saturday they are looking into Saudi press reports that regulators in the conservative Muslim kingdom want to control its popular messenger service.

The Saudi Communication and Internet Technology Commission (CITC) has reportedly contacted Canada's Research in Motion Ltd (RIM) seeking to have access to and monitor communications by BlackBerry Messenger, known as BBM.

"RIM is investigating the reported matter in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will provide an update once further information is available to share," the company said in an emailed statement.

"RIM operates in more than 170 countries around the world and respects the regulatory requirements of governments," it said.

On Thursday, Al-Watan newspaper said the Saudi telecommunications and internet regulator wanted to control Messenger usage, amid speculation that the government could shut it down.

Many Saudis, especially younger people, buy BlackBerries specifically to use the Messenger function, which allows them to exchange text messages directly with other BlackBerry owners.