Aug 02 2010
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'Bahrain will not ban BlackBerry services'
"It is very important to maintain a balance between the usability and illicit use of any telecom services and if there is no misuse the question of restricting the scope of any service doesn't arise," Ahmed Al Doseri, Director of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at the TRA said in an interview yesterday.
The UAE said yesterday it will block key features on the popular BlackBerry smart phones from October 11 - including Messenger, e-mail, and web browsing - citing national security concerns because the devices operate beyond the government's ability to monitor their use.
Asked whether Bahrain is thinking of similar actions, Al Doseri said that the TRA in Bahrain has not received any credible reports pointing towards security breaches.
Earlier last month, the TRA in the UAE had issued a statement in which it said that since BlackBerry operates outside the jurisdiction of national legislation, it had no control or regulation of the data being transferred through the network, which posed a major security risk that could be exploited by criminals.
The UAE's suspension of the service is a result of the failure to reach terms to bring BlackBerry servers to the UAE in line with the country's regulations.
The TRA in the UAE said yesterday that services could resume after an acceptable solution is reached.
"With no solution available and in the public interest, in order to affect resolution of this issue, as of October 11, 2010, BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Email and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied," a statement said quoting UAE TRA Director General Mohammad Al Ganem yesterday with regard to the ban.
"We informed both Etisalat and du that providing the option of alternative services to ensure the continuity of service from October 11 to its subscribers - both individuals and organisations - is the most important priority," the statement added.
"The TRA notes that Blackberry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern."
BlackBerry has more than 700,000 subscribers in Saudi Arabia and 500,000 in the UAE.
By Mahmood Rafique
© Bahrain Tribune 2010
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