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UAE sees BlackBerry issue solved before deadline

Official says "very optimistic" on talks; UAE has given an Oct 11 deadline to RIM for more access.

September 26, 2010 12:40 by



The United Arab Emirates is “very optimistic” about reaching an agreement in a dispute with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion before an official deadline, a top Abu Dhabi official said.

The UAE has threatened to suspend Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from Oct. 11 until the government could get access to encrypted messages.

“We are very optimistic about the outcome. We both are working very hard trying to resolve the issues….it’s going to be solved before the deadline,” Mohammed al-Bawardi, secretary general at Abu Dhabi’s executive council, told reporters on Sunday.

BlackBerry’s Messenger application has spread rapidly in the Gulf Arab region but because the data is encrypted and sent to offshore servers, it cannot be tracked locally.

There are some 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE.

Another Gulf Arab state, Saudi Arabia, concerned over services such as online pornography, has reached a deal with RIM on access to the BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging service, a consumer product that operates outside of the secure corporate domain, according to government sources.

Several countries, including India, had expressed concerns that BlackBerry services could be used to stir political or social instability, and had threatened RIM with a ban if they were denied access to data.

(By Mahmoud Habboush. Writing by Dinesh Nair, Editing by Jason Benham)



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