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UAE steps up efforts to monitor BlackBerry devices

Kathleen Hall

The United Arab Emirates plans to limit organisations' access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server system, which could enable authorities to step up efforts to monitor handsets.

The country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has outlined plans to reduce access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server system, a move which would push most organisations onto a less secure system, says the Globe and Mail.

Only six months ago the UAE repealed its threat to ban BlackBerry services due to strong encryption on the handsets.

Research in Motion (RIM) said in a statement: "The TRA has confirmed to RIM that any potential policy regarding enterprise services in the UAE would be an industry-wide policy, applying equally to all enterprise solution providers."

The federation of just over eight million people has at least 500,000 BlackBerry users.

But RIM remains sensitive to being singled out due to its success in the region. Mike Lazaridis, founder of RIM, recently ordered a BBC reporter to end an interview after being asked whether BlackBerry users in India and the Middle East could be assured over their continual use of the handset devices.

"The interview is over. You can't use that, Rory. It's just not fair. This is a national security issue. Turn that off," he said.


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