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United Arab Emirates to Limit BlackBerry Use

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BlackBerry Playbook tablet hands-onABU DHABI, UAE – The UAE will limit individuals and small businesses access to private data services from BlackBerry smartphones starting May 1st.  Email and web access will not be disrupted.

In October of last year, there were many threats from several Middle Eastern and Asian governments to cut off BlackBerry services, and even a BlackBerry India security spat. Most of those threats were negotiated away, and reports of service interruptions were minimal.

Some Arab states are attempting to limit access to mobile devices, which are the primary conduit for pro-democracy messaging and organization. The governments feel that cutting off the service will curtail the protests and protect their positions. Limiting access is another method to quash protest and rebellion. The UAE and Qatar are two states that have not had much in the way of pro-democracy movement.

UAE officials had no immediate comment, the messenger, email and web browsing services will not be interrupted. It appears that private individuals will not have the benefit of BlackBerry Enterprise Services.  “Qualifying” organizations, as determined by the telecoms regulator, will be able to use BES.

More information is to be made available in the coming weeks. The UAE has little tolerance for dissent, and is concerned about its ability to access encrypted information, using security and sovereignty as its justification.

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By , RIM-affairs Correspondent on Apr 18th, 2011 GMT +2

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