Saudi Arabian authorities are reportedly close to making a deal with BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) over the issue of monitoring BlackBerry services in the country.
It was initially suggested that an outright ban on all BlackBerry smartphones would be imposed because it was not possible for the authorities to monitor the information being exchanged via the BlackBerry Messenger service and the encrypted emails sent and received by its users.
It now appears that RIM is set to concede to the wishes of the Saudi government, potentially allowing it access to tools, which could be used to decrypt any email or message transferred through the nation's three major network providers.
The United Arab Emirates, which has also threatened to ban the BlackBerry over similar concerns will apparently operate a server through which all BlackBerry correspondence coming in and out of Saudi Arabia and its own borders will be processed and analysed as part of a drive to protect national security.
Tests are already being carried out on the servers that will be used for the monitoring operation, according to a report in the Associated Press.
It was the fact that RIM transmits and stores encrypted BlackBerry data in its servers in Canada that partly ignited the protests by certain nations in the Middle East and any arrangement in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will most likely be followed by equivalent deals in India and elsewhere.
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