blackberry phones.jpgTwo Gulf states have announced bans on some functions of the American manufactured Blackberry mobile phone citing security concerns.

The United Arab Emirates is to block the functions of sending emails, accessing the internet, and delivering instant messages to other Blackberry handsets while Saudi Arabia is to prevent  the use of the Blackberry to Blackberry instant messaging service.

Abdulrahman Mazi, a board member of state-controlled Saudi Telecom, has admitted that the decision is intended to put pressure on Blackberry’s Canadian owner, Research in Motion (RIM), to release data from users’ communications “when needed”.


The United Arab Emirates ban will start in October, while Saudi Arabia will begin later this month.

Both nations have expressed concern that they are unable to monitor such communications via the handsets. This is because the Blackberry handsets automatically send the encrypted data to computer servers outside of the two countries.

The United Arab Emirates’ telecoms regulator said the lack of compliance with local laws raised “judicial, social and national security concerns”.


There are an estimated 500,000 Blackberry users in the United Arab Emirates and 400,000 in Saudi Arabia.