UAE authorities are "very optimistic" they will resolve a dispute with the maker of BlackBerry devices before a threatened ban comes into force in two weeks, a top Abu Dhabi Government official said yesterday. The ban on BlackBerry's messaging and e-mail services is to take effect on October 11. Citing national security concerns, the UAE Government last month demanded to be given the means to circumvent BlackBerry's encryption technology.
Talks between government officials and Research In Motion (RIM), Blackberry's Canadian maker, were "very advanced. It's been very positive", said Mohammed al Bowardi, the Secretary General of the Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Government's top decision-making body. "People are working very hard to resolve the issues," Mr al Bowardi said yesterday. "We are very optimistic we will solve this by the deadline."
The UAE is one of several countries that have expressed concerns about BlackBerry's virtually unbreakable data encryption. India granted RIM a two-month extension until October after threatening to ban BlackBerry service in the world's second-fastest growing mobile market unless the company provided Indian authorities with the means to monitor messages. RIM has reportedly encountered technical problems in its effort to give Indian officials access to corporate BlackBerry messages but has successfully installed a monitoring programme for its messenger service.
Last month, authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that the country would not ban BlackBerry's messenger service while efforts to find a solution continued. Other countries that have expressed concerns about their inability to monitor BlackBerry services include Lebanon, Indonesia and Kuwait.