A telecommunications official says Saudi Arabia will block BlackBerry email, messaging, and Web access, joining neighboring United Arab Emirates in a move it says is prompted by security concerns because the devices operate beyond the government's ability to monitor their use. The move will take place later this month in Saudi Arabia, and in October in the UAE.
Blackberry data are encrypted and routed overseas, and the measure could be motivated in part by government fears that the messaging system could be exploited by terrorists or other criminals who cannot be monitored by the local authorities. However, analysts and activists also see it as an attempt to more tightly control the flow of information. Regulators said they have sought compromises with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion on their concerns, but failed to reach an agreement.
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