Feeds

Saudi Arabia beats UAE to BlackBerry ban

Shutters come down Friday

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

BlackBerry users residing in, or visiting, Saudi Arabia should ensure that they can get to their messages another way, as the government is asking operators to block RIM’s email service from Friday.

Other countries, notably the neighbouring UAE, have threatened to cut off the BlackBerry's email service, which provides messages over an encrypted channel that’s inaccessible without RIM’s approval. But if the Saudi block goes ahead on Friday, as Reuters is reporting, then Saudi will be the first country in which BlackBerrys just don't work.

Hours before that news broke RIM’s executives were saying that banning BlackBerrys wasn’t really practical, as they had become the tools of government. "I believe they'll have trouble pulling the trigger to shut down BlackBerry," Reuters was told. "Most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry."

Obviously not in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is also planning to prevent BlackBerrys from communicating with their out-of-country servers, but not until October to give users a chance to change technologies or - more likley - for RIM to capitulate and allow the UAE access to those servers.

RIM has agreements with more than a hundred governments allowing their security services to intercept messages when necessary, but the UAE’s clumsy attempt to infiltrate BlackBerry handsets starkly demonstrated that it is not on the approved list. Neither, it seems, is Saudi Arabia.

Push email, long the killer feature for BlackBerrys, is standard smartphone fare these days, but companies wanting to replace Enterprise applications developed on RIM’s architecture will have a harder time. Alternatives do exist, and competitors are no doubt already flying into the region to push them.

The other approach, espoused by companies such as AstraSync, is to replicate the RIM servers within the country concerned (and thus open to local examination), but that would require working with the local telecommunications networks and government, which isn’t going to happen before Friday. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.