This story has been updated to include comment from Research in Motion.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it will ban access to certain BlackBerry services because data sent through the platform cannot be monitored for illegal activity by government regulators.
BlackBerry Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing are all affected by the ban, which goes into effect Oct. 11. The ban also affects foreign visitors roaming on the UAE’s two operators, Etisalat and du, reports the Associated Press.
The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) says BlackBerry is the only service of its kind currently operating in the UAE whose data is handled off-shore by a foreign, commercial organization.
The services will be suspended until an “acceptable solution can be developed and applied,” said Al Ghanim, director of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), in a statement.
The TRA cited “judicial, social and national security concerns” among its reasons for the ban, which was announced one week after the UAE declared BlackBerry devices a potential threat to national security. The UAE government is known for taking a heavy-handed approach to censorship, blocking media content it views as harmful to national security and social values.
The TRA said it has attempted since 2007 to bring BlackBerry services in line with its telecommunication regulations. Its ban on core BlackBerry applications will be in effect until they are in full compliance with UAE telecom regulations.
In response to a request for comment on the ban from Wireless Week, BlackBerry provider Research In Motion (RIM) declined to comment on its regulatory discussions with the UAE but emphasized that its security architecture is “widely accepted” by international governments.
“RIM respects both the regulatory requirements of government and the security and privacy needs of corporations and consumers,” the company said. RIM’s devices are currently available in 175 countries worldwide.