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Saudis remove BlackBerry block

Saudis remove BlackBerry block

The planned suspension of messaging and email communication via all BlackBerry smartphones in Saudi Arabia has apparently been called off, despite claims the block had already taken effect.

The Saudi authorities had joined a number of other nations in criticising the messaging capabilities of the popular smartphone brand, because the integrated encryption makes it impossible to intercept and analyse messages, which they claimed poses a threat to national security.

Some claim that the ban was lifted as a result of Research In Motion (RIM) reaching an agreement with the local authorities, although conflicting reports also suggest that many BlackBerry users are still struggling to use the main functions on their smartphones.

BBC correspondent Ben Thompson from Dubai confirmed: "Services are up and running again across the country.

"Inevitably, that raises more questions than it answers. If RIM did grant Saudi Arabia access to its security codes, other countries in the region would now expect the same. The UAE - which is threatening its own ban by October alongside Algeria, Indonesia and India would all be expecting similar deals."

UK businessperson Nazar Musa, who is currently working in the region, said: "There's been an awful lot of discussion and debate about the Blackberry issue. Clearly as a centre of regional business and with links and ties to the rest of the world the use of Blackberry services is vital."

RIM has neither confirmed nor denied recent claims about the alleviation of pressure from the Saudi government.

Earlier this week the smartphone maker made its stance clear, stating: "RIM cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key, since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party, ever possess a copy of the key."

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