US Slams Blackberry Ban

UAE ban 'sets dangerous precedent'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2010 4:51 AM CDT
A man talks on his smart phone at the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

(Newser) – The United Arab Emirates' plan to ban Blackberry services is setting a dangerous precedent, warns the US State Department. The ban on Blackberry email, messenger, and browser services, which Saudi Arabia plans to follow, will choke off the free flow of information vital to modern economies, says spokesman PJ Crowley. The ban—which the UAE's government says is due to security concerns—will apply to travelers passing through the UAE as well as residents.

"It's about what we think is an important element of democracy, human rights and freedom of information and the flow of information in the 21st century," Crowley said, adding that the US makes the same argument to Iran and China. The UAE's ambassador to the US defended the ban, saying that the country is merely seeking the same compliance with regulations that the US demands, Reuters reports.

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