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Blackberry issues in the Gulf 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Emirates.
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After a long, drawn-out process the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have announced that they are going to ban Blackberry services. Their key issue is that Blackberry automatically encrypts messages and emails. iPhones and similar devices, however, do not. This means that emails and messages sent from such devices can be relatively easily monitored by security services. The fact that Blackberry makes it impossible for security services to monitor messages and emails perturbs them significantly.

This is a damaging saga for the Emirates in particular. Saudi has never had anything approaching a reputation for openness or as ‘a place to do business’ yet clearly the same cannot be said of the Emirates. Such a visible clamping down on such a ubiquitous tool as Blackberry signals that whilst Dubai, for example, may have something of a licentious, light and non-oppressive air, underneath, there operates a pervasive security force that, at its starkest, cannot countenance not being able to read your emails, if it deems it necessary.

In this light it is interesting to note that Qatar, one of the Emirates’ principal competitors in numerous fields, has announced that it has no plans to ban Blackberry. Moreover, I have seen suggestions that mobile operators in Qatar will seek to expand their service to users in the Emirates. Whilst this is most likely to be simply a rather un-subtle, cheeky jab at the Emirates, it deftly highlights Qatar in a liberal light versus its draconian, ban-imposing neighbor.

Kuwait to ban BlackBerry 25, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
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1 comment so far

Kuwaiti dictators authorities are to ban BlackBerry Messenger service in the country. They are perturbed as it can be used “to spread rumour and call for strikes”. How scandalous. On hearing this did anyone else automatically think of Canute trying to hold back the waves?