UAE to block BlackBerry devices starting in October, Saudi Arabia to follow suit?
Because BlackBerry encrypts data when it is routed overseas and local governments cannot monitor it, there is a concern that terrorists can use the network to engage in conversations that cannot be tapped into. Another view is that the UAE is using this block to control the spread of information in the country. The UAE is a major oil exporter and center of business in the region. Last year, the government owned carrier Etisalat told 145,000 BlackBerry users that they had to install software that was an "upgrade ... required for service enhancements." RIM later found out that the software was spyware that could let outsiders obtain information stored on the phone and told Berry users how to remove it from their device.
Saudi Arabia followed the UAE's statement by saying that they too would begin to block certain functions of BlackBerry handsets starting later this month. An anonymous official said that the Saudi telecommunications regulator would soon issue a statement about the issue later. However, Saudi Telecom's Ali Mohammed said that he had received no word from the ministry about BlackBerry phones. Other phone models are exempt from the block because the Berry unit is the only one that automatically sends user's data to servers overseas. While that makes the BlackBerry a more secure device for users, it makes it harder for countries to tap into lines for security reasons.