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A Dubai shopping mall, August 1, 2010.  (Source: Reuters)
RIM appeases United Arab Emirates with time to spare before threatened Oct. 11 ban

After months of wrangling with various Middle Eastern and Asian countries over security issues, Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, are finally in compliance with the United Arab Emirates.

Back in July, government regulators in the UAE expressed concerns over BlackBerry's encryption, which didn't comply with security legislation passed in 2007. Local authorities could not trace the encrypted data used in BlackBerry services -- e-mail, BlackBerry messenger, etc. -- because it is sent to offshore servers. The UAE cited this as a threat to national security.

In response, RIM said that their servers were set up that way for a reason, and that not even the company itself could access customers' data. In short, they implied that compliance would be impossible.

However, the pressure on RIM continued to mount, as Saudi Arabia, India, and Indonesia all joined the fold, threatening to ban BlackBerry services within their borders as well. With an impending ban in Saudi Arabia, RIM began to cooperate and started testing servers within the country to host the BlackBerry services. RIM also began complying with the Indian authorities, avoiding a ban that would have affected approximately one million users.

Now, just short of an October 11 deadline for compliance in the UAE, Reuters is reporting that RIM has made all the necessary changes to appease the government there.

"The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has confirmed that BlackBerry services are now compliant with the UAE's telecommunications regulatory framework," said a statement on state news agency WAM. "Therefore all BlackBerry services in the UAE will continue to operate as normal and no suspension of service will occur on October 11, 2010."

No further details of the agreement that was reached between the two entities were given, raising the issue of possible privacy concerns.





"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes



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