UAE and RIM to live happily ever after; BlackBerry owners can continue to use their devices

By Yousif Abdullah on 8 Oct 2010 11:51 am EDT
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A last minute decision for sure. Last month the UAE had RIM under its gun threatening to ban BlackBerry services from October 11. On Tuesday it was reported, that only few BlackBerry users are switching to other smartphones. Service providers Etisalat and du had even offered alternative smartphone options to their customers, including devices from Nokia or Apple's iPhone. This all shall be history now as the Emirates is not going to suspend any of its BlackBerry services after all. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority also acknowledged "positive engagement and collaboration of RIM in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome."

It is not clear what the exact changes are, but rest assured BlackBerry users in the UAE may continue using their devices normally in the future. In an e-mailed statement, RIM said it "cannot discuss the details of confidential regulatory matters that occur in specific countries". This allows for little conclusions to be drawn, but I believe the Emirates has been granted similar access to monitor BlackBerry traffic as India. Despite these matters this is an excellent outcome and shows that RIM has a big heart for the Middle East. We love you too, RIM.

Update: A contact of mine in the Emirates, who wishes to stay anonymous, has provided me with very interesting insight into the subject. Since the very first threats to ban BlackBerry services in the country, several local shops and dealers have lowered their prices for BlackBerry smartphones. However, a couple of days ago prices went up again for almost no reason. Word has it that "inside" information was floating around regarding the talks between the UAE and RIM. In addition, locals already knew since yesterday that a positive outcome has been reached, despite the local media being virtually silent about the subject. No comment on whether the UAE has been granted access to monitor BlackBerry traffic, though. 

Source: CBS

9 comments

clickqass

I knew this would happen eventually ;)

Shexo

It was inevitable :D

CASH

I agree with you two guys. I hope the UAE government left $50 on the nightstand (Canadian dollars, of course). XD

FunkyDog

I think it was plain business. RIM cracked under pressure and had to think of their profit margins. They could just have said "oh fuck you arab terrorist pigs go your freaking way cos our services stay the way we want it" rather than caving in to those terrorist governments just to earn their dosh. And "confidential regulatory matters" is a load of crap as it clearly shows RIM is hiding some facts they do not want the world to know, else they would spill the beans. We wouldn't care cos we don't like in UAE, but if I have to go there I'd be worried that some idiot government officials may think I'm a terrorist.

Its another good excuse for me to jump ship and go over to the dark side to Darth Jobs. Thanks for a great 7 years, RIM. Let's hope that you have an excuse to pull me back to the clutches of truth.

Yousif Abdullah

The comment section is intended for civilized discussion only.

On another note, the Emirates is not as bad as you may think it is. In fact, it is a very metropolitan country with people from all around the world. It is a place where different cultures become one and in fact I would go as far as saying it is one of the more "Western" Arab countries. Terrorists have no place in the UAE.

I do not know what you believe RIM is "hiding" from the public, but considering its security infrastructure what else would you expect RIM to say? Stopping terrorists is not the sole reason Middle Eastern countries want access to monitor the BlackBerry network. For example, Kuwait had asked RIM to filter pornographic content in order to make it difficult for someone with a BlackBerry to circumvent service provider wide Internet filters (as BlackBerry data is routed through North American servers, bypassing local network gateways). This is for compliance with Islamic laws that prohibit viewing of pornographic material. The Arab world takes pride in following Islam; for example, have a look at the reaction of Pakistan to the controversial Facebook "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" group. It is something the people in these countries accept as social norms. To you, this may seem crazy.

Also, remember that the Obama administration has prepared a bill to wiretap all Internet based communication, including BlackBerry traffic. So, this is not something limited to Middle Eastern governments only. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this, but try to understand that there are many differences between the Occident and the Orient.

Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

Its a country. No one said terrorists...

kinan.alissa

What people outside of the UAE don't know is that just before the ban was announced both telcos had special deals on their bb stocks. only after selling out of 9700 and 8520, i know this because i tried to get a cheap bb for my sis, did the ban get announced. immediately both telcos offered cheap rates on the iphone 3gs stocks. after depleting these they both simultaneously announced availability of the iphone 4. after having sold enough of these the ban on bb is suddenly lifted!!!!!

draw your own conclusions.

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SkitzBlitzer

Seems anytime we get something that's secure, someone out there is going to boohoocry and make damn well sure that it is short-lived. Once it goes down somewhere, it's gonna go down everywhere. The liberals will make sure of that here in the U.S. too. Unreal.