UAE backtracks on BlackBerry ban

2010-10-08 11:16
Dubai - The United Arab Emirates said on Friday that a planned ban on BlackBerry services that had been due to come into effect next week will not go ahead.

"BlackBerry services will carry on as usual and will not be suspended on October 11," said a statement from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) carried by the state WAM news agency.

The UAE said in late August that from October 11 it would block BlackBerry messenger, web browsing and email services because they "allow individuals to commit violations" that cannot be monitored.

A TRA official had said earlier this week that the decision to suspend the services was "final".

However, "we remain open to discussions in order that an acceptable, regulatory-compliant solution might be developed and applied", the official said at the time.

Since the TRA announced it was planning the ban, the market for BlackBerry handsets has come to a standstill in the oil-rich Gulf state, where there are some 500 000 users.

BlackBerry has faced similar snags in Saudi Arabia and India, where the authorities fear heavy encryption makes BlackBerry convenient for terrorists to use without being detected.

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