UAE may ban BlackBerry due to fear of Israeli, US spies

Dubai police chief states that potential ban on popular service sparked by fears of Israeli, UK and US who could use device as spy tool.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 3, 2010 22:21
1 minute read.
Dubai's Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim

dubai police chief tamim khalfan 311. (photo credit: AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Worries about spying by the US and Israel spurred plans to sharply limit BlackBerry services in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai's police chief said on Friday in comments that suggest a tough line will be taken in talks with the smart phone maker.

The UAE has said that it will block BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web services Oct. 11 unless authorities can gain access to the encrypted data traffic — a demand by other countries warning of possible bans including India.

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The proposed UAE action threatens BlackBerry service for an estimated 500,000 local subscribers and could tarnish the country's reputation as the Gulf's business and tourism hub with potentially millions of visitors left without key BlackBerry services.

Dubai's police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said that fears of espionage and information sharing by foe Israel — as well as UAE allies United States and Britain — helped prompt the possible limits on the popular BlackBerry.

Tamim told a conference on information technology that the proposed BlackBerry curbs are also "meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance," according to a story posted Friday on the website of the UAE newspaper Al-Khaleej.


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