Saudi Arabia to Shut Down Blackberry Messenger Function Friday

Photo: unpbf.org

Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications watchdog, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), has asked telecom firms to block to messenger function on Blackberry devices by Friday. The ban would remain until all three mobile phone operators in Saudi Arabia complied with “the regulatory requirements it has requested.”

CITC did not specify what the regulatory requirements are, according to the BBC. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have raised concerns over the Blackberry messaging function which send the information encrypted to servers outside the country, making it difficult for state authorities to access the information.

The firm which operates the Blackberry service, Research in Motion (RIM), has responded to the alleged security concerns of the UAE and Saudi Arabia by saying the firm seeks to balance a customers need for privacy with the regulations and laws of the host nation.

“We respect the requirements of regulatory bodies in terms of security, but we also look at the customer’s need for privacy,” said Satchit Gayakwad, RIM’s India spokesman.

The firm also said it worked with governments “with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect.”

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