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UAE close to Blackberry security agreement

Warwick Ashford

The United Arab Emirates is optimistic about reaching an agreement with Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) over security concerns, according to a top official.

In July, authorities said the Blackberry smartphone is open to misuse and poses a security risk, and in August threatened to suspend RIM's Blackberry encrypted messaging services from 11 October until government security agencies get access to the messages.

But Mohammed al-Bawardi, secretary general at Abu Dhabi's executive council, said the UAE was confident the issue would be resolved before the deadline, according to Reuters.

Similar security concerns have been raised in Saudi Arabia, where the government claims to have reached a deal with RIM on access to the Blackberry Messenger service.

Other countries, including India, have raised concerns that Blackberry services could be used to co-ordinate terror attacks or stir up political instability.

At end of August, India delayed a threatened ban on Blackberry services for 60 days to extend talks with RIM on giving security services access to users' e-mails and instant messages.

RIM has issued several statements on the issue, saying some governments are finding ways to live with strong encryption, and the only way forward is to work together.

According to RIM, the use of strong encryption in wireless technology is not unique to Blackberry and is therefore an industry-wide matter.


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