BlackBerry Messenger faces closure in Saudi

Saudi telecoms regulator seeks access to monitor messages on Blackberry device.
BLACKBERRY MESSENGER: There have been rumours that the BBM service will stop on Saturday. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Neeraj Gangal
Sat 06 Mar 2010 08:35 AM

Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission has asked Canada-based Research In Motion, the company that owns BlackBerry Messenger, to allow the telecoms regulator access to monitor messages sent by the mobile device, according to media reports.

The Arab News daily quoted the Al Watan newspaper as saying that the CITC wants to have access in order to monitor the messages in the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) network, threatening to shut down the service for noncompliance.

BBM is a special messaging service for BlackBerry phone users. For a monthly flat fee, BlackBerry owners can share messages, IM and multimedia with other BlackBerry owners, Arab News said.

There have been rumours that the BBM service will stop on Saturday.

Arab News added that the CITC was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Meanwhile, BBM maker Research in Motion (RIM) on Friday said it is investigating reports in the Arab press that Saudi regulators have asked the company for access to its unique messaging service for its BlackBerry devices.

"RIM operates in more than 170 countries around the world and respects the regulatory requirements of governments," the company said in a statement issued to Arab News.

"RIM is investigating the reported matter in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will provide an update once further information is available to share," the statement added.

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