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D-day for Saudi Blackberry users

Thousands of Blackberry users will be cut off from today if last-ditch talks between Saudi authorities and smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) fail.

Saudi authorities announced earlier this week that Blackberry services did not conform to regulatory requirements and would be blocked from 6 August.

But talks between Saudi authorities and RIM on the eve of the threatened shutdown are said to have shown progress.

Sources close to the talks said the two sides have discussed technicalities of a new setup after RIM showed increased flexibility, according to Reuters.

RIM has been facing increasing pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India to open its encrypted network to government scrutiny.

A growing number of countries are demanding access to encrypted Blackberry communications because of concerns about national security.

But on Wednesday, RIM said it could not accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key.

"RIM has spent over a decade building a very strong security architecture to meet our enterprise customers' strict security requirements around the world," the company said.

RIM said the company co-operates with all governments with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect.

"Any claims that we provide, or have ever provided, something unique to the government of one country that we have not offered to the governments of all countries, are unfounded," the company said.


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