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RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis defended his company's stance on privacy.  (Source: The Globe and Mail)
Saudis first to ban devices, UAE promises ban in October

Just days after the United Arab Emirates announced it would be banning Blackberry services within its borders come October, Saudi Arabia has bettered the UAE, enacting a ban that takes effect across that country today, CNN reports.

The Saudi Press Agency issued a statement from the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission asking mobile companies to block Blackberry services "because the manufacturer of the devices couldn't meet the regulatory requirements of the commission and it is not in accordance with the regulations and conditions of licenses issued to service providers, at its present state."

This is just the latest development in a back-and-forth between the Gulf countries and Research In Motion, the manufacturers of Blackberry, who responded by saying that not even they had the ability to access customer data.

The issue at hand, from the standpoint of the Saudi and UAE governments, is that Blackberry data is encrypted and sent to offshore services that can't be traced by local authorities. The Gulf states cite security concerns. 

DailyTech has been following the developments over the last few days and weeks. For more background, read this and this.

While RIM has come out to say that complying with the governments' requests would be impossible, the company's most recent response came from the Canadian company's CEO, Michael Lazaridis via The Wall Street Journal.

"Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off," Lazaridis told WSJ. He said that RIM was in discussions with the Gulf governments, and was confident that the standoff would be resolved. He cited the foreign nations' ignorance of the way that Internet and mobile services work as a major roadblock to negotiations.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet," he told WSJ





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