Tuesday, August 3, 2010

UAE Kills Blackberry Services

Will this be the case in Lebanon as well?
Might want to think twice before investing in a new BlackBerry.
Something I did not do!!

Etisalat Statement Regarding Suspension of BlackBerry Services in UAE:

Dear Valued Customer:

August 1, 2010 - Etisalat was informed on 1st August 2010 by the UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) to suspend BlackBerry services providing email, web browsing, instant messaging and social networking from October 11, 2010 until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied which brings the BlackBerry services in line with the UAE's telecommunications regulations.

This is an important decision made by the Regulatory Authority and we fully understand the legal and social considerations behind the decision.

Etisalat has an obligation to act within the law and the regulations of the TRA, while at the same time, providing our customers with the best service. Etisalat's focus at the current time is to make sure its valued customers experience continuity of mobility services. In line with its commitment towards its customers, Etisalat will soon be announcing a range of alternative mobility products and services for its existing blackberry customers.

More links concerning BB security


  1. Saudi ban on BlackBerry from Friday August 6

    Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator has ordered mobile operators to halt BlackBerry services from August 6.
    The Saudi state news agency SPA in a report on Tuesday said that the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) asked "Saudi Telecom Co, Mobily and Zain Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the BlackBerry service in the country starting Friday.
    SPA said the suspension of service was being implemented because BlackBerry service "in its present state does not meet regulatory requirements".
    "CITC has informed the three mobile telecommunications providers more than a year ago of the need to quickly fulfil with the manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets the required regulatory requirements," it added.
    Sources from the state-controlled Saudi Telecom, which is the kingdom's biggest telecom operator by market share, said the ban on Blackberry Messenger was due mainly to security concerns.
    Saudi Arabia has about 700,000 BlackBerry users of which some 80 per cent are individual users.
    The device is a big success, especially among youths who use its Messenger function to interact with members of the opposite sex and exchange jokes and pictures in a deeply conservative society.
    The United Arab Emirates also threatened on Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless its maker, Research in Motion (RIM), gives it access to encrypted messages.
    India is also in talks with RIM over how information is managed on the devices. Like the UAE, it has cited security concerns in pushing for greater access to encrypted information sent by the phones that gets routed through the Canadian company's computers overseas

  2. CNN:

    The statement from Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba came hours after a U.S. State Department spokesman criticized the Middle Eastern nation's decision to restrict BlackBerry e-mail, instant messaging and Web browsing. Al Otaiba said the comments were "disappointing and contradict the U.S. government's own approach to telecommunications regulation."
    "In fact, the UAE is asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance -- and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight -- that BlackBerry grants the U.S. and other governments and nothing more," the ambassador said. "Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the U.S. for the very same reasons: to protect national security and to assist in law enforcement."

    "It is regrettable that after several years of discussions, BlackBerry is still not compliant with UAE regulatory requirements even as it complies with similar policies in other countries," Al Otaiba said.

  3. U.S. authorities able to tap BlackBerry messaging
    BOSTON | Tue Aug 3, 2010 2:57pm EDT

    (Reuters) - The BlackBerry -- renown for the security of its messaging -- doesn't offer 100 percent protection from eavesdropping. At least not in the United States.

    U.S. law enforcement officials said they can tap into emails and other conversations made using the device, made by Research in Motion, as long as they have proper court orders.
    RIM's willingness to grant authorities access to the messages of its clients is a hot-button issue. The United Arab Emirates claims it does not have the same kind of surveillance rights to BlackBerry messages as officials in the United States. It has threatened to clamp down on some services unless they get more access.
    The exact details of the dispute remain unclear, but security experts say that many governments around the world enjoy the ability to monitor BlackBerry conversations as they do communications involving most types of mobile devices.
    "The ability to tap communications is a part of surveillance and intelligence and law enforcement all over the world," said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.
    RIM is in an unusual position of having to deal with government requests to monitor its clients because it is the only smartphone maker who manages the traffic of messages sent using its equipment. Other smartphone makers -- including Apple Inc, Nokia, HTC and Motorola Corp -- leave the work of managing data to the wireless carrier or the customer.
    RIM's encrypted, or scrambled, traffic is delivered through secure servers at its own data centers, based mostly in its home base of Canada. Some corporate clients choose to host BlackBerry servers at other locations.
    Rasch said that RIM may feel uncomfortable granting such access to officials in UAE. There may be concern authorities could abuse that access, he said.
    "You reach a point where a company feels uncomfortable from the client perspective with what a government is asking them," Rasch said. "It may be a function of what they are being asked to do, or it may be a function of which government is asking."
    U.S. rules that govern wire-tapping are designed to avoid abuse of power.
    "It's a very complex process going to go about getting a wire tap. It's not something that is made easy for us to do," said Connecticut State Police Sergeant Shawn Corey.

    (Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston. Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp in Cairo and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington; Editing by Frank McGurty)

  4. RIM Allows Saudi Arabia to Monitor Users,news-7747.html

    August 11, 2010

    Saudi Arabia made headlines last week when it announced that it would be banning BlackBerrys nationwide from Friday, August 6. However, Friday came and went with nothing but a couple of minor interruptions to services. Saudi Arabia then said that it was working with RIM towards a solution; all data would be passed through a Saudia Arabian servers before continuing on to RIM's own Canada-based servers.

    However, it would seem this proved too impractical, and now RIM has supposedly agreed to hand over encryption codes to the Saudi Arabians. Reuters cites a source that says RIM will share the unique pin number and code for each BlackBerry registered in Saudi Arabia, allowing authorities to read encrypted text sent via BlackBerry Messenger. The source told Reuters that this arrangement effectively gives Saudi Arabia access to RIM's main server for Messenger, but only for communications to and from Saudi Arabians.

    The Saudi Arabian telecoms regulator did not confirm if an agreement had been reached with RIM, but highlighted that positive developments had led to progress.

    "In light of the positive developments in completing part of the regulatory requirements from the service providers, the regulatory authority has decided to allow the continuation of the BlackBerry Messenger services," the regulator said.

    No word on whether or not the United Arab Emirates will follow through with its threat to ban BlackBerrys if RIM does not allow it access to encrypted messages by October.