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The United Arab Emirates said late last week it won’t implement a proposed ban on Research In Motion Ltd’s BlackBerry services, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The UAE had earlier claimed BlackBerry’s services weren’t in compliance with regulations allowing government access to data.

The UAE’s telecommunications regulator didn’t detail what RIM had done to bring BlackBerry services into compliance days before a deadline. Initially it had said the way RIM handled data hindered the government’s ability to monitor it—and thus threatened national security.

The report cited one long-standing issue being RIM’s system of processing information through a handful of secure server networks—the biggest of which is in the Canadian company’s home base of Waterloo, Ontario. That system means governments like the UAE’s don’t have jurisdiction over those servers and the information that flows through them, making it harder to access that data.

The UAE regulator in August said RIM was the only company operating in the Middle Eastern nation that immediately “exported” data offshore, and that it would suspend key BlackBerry services—including instant messaging, email, and web browsing—as of Oct. 11 if an agreement wasn’t reached.

The UAE agreement eases the pressure RIM has been under in recent months to provide greater government access to data on its secure networks. Saudi Arabia lifted the threat of a similar ban on BlackBerry instant-messaging services in August, saying some of its regulatory requirements had been satisfied. India at the end of August extended the deadline for its proposed BlackBerry ban for two months, so it could test some “technical solutions” RIM had proposed for monitoring email and instant messaging, a government official said.

The agreement brings relief to around 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, who were kept guessing whether their devices would still support their email and instant messages next week.

— Source: Wall Street


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