‘Good progress’ in UAE talks - BlackBerry official

Co-CEO says optimistic that 'positive and constructive outcome' can be reached.
‘Good progress’ in UAE talks - BlackBerry official
PHONE BAN: Certain BlackBerry services are set to be banned in the UAE from October 17. (Getty Images)
By Ed Attwood
Sun 19 Sep 2010 10:44 AM

Less than a month before the UAE’s BlackBerry ban comes into force, the company behind the device is confident that that a positive outcome can be achieved during negotiations with the local regulator.

Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), also said that constructive dialogue was “ongoing”, although details remained confidential for the time being.

In a shock announcement at the beginning of August, the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced that BlackBerry services would be banned in the country from October 17.

"On the topic of lawful access, RIM is continuing discussions with governments and carriers in India and the UAE, and they believe we have made good progress in those discussions,” Balsillie told analysts during RIM’s second-quarter conference call.

“The details of such discussions are, of course, confidential but I'm optimistic that a positive and constructive outcome can be achieved that addresses the regulatory requirements of government and the security and privacy needs of corporations and consumers.”

Balsillie also admitted his frustration at the landslide of “contradictory rumours and theories” on the BlackBerry ban, and accused many commentators of either speculating or driving their own agendas.

The official added that RIM is respectful of all government needs and fully cooperates with lawful requirements on an industry standard basis, although it could not compromise on the security architecture of the BlackBerry enterprise solution.

"RIM simply has no ability to read the encrypted information. RIM has no master key or backdoor key to allow access, and the location of RIM's infrastructure has no impact on the security architecture,” Balsillie said.

“The end-to-end encryption is a fundamental part of the system design and we know it is a fundamentally important security feature for our enterprise customers around the world since they legitimately need to protect their confidential corporate information.”

The TRA has refused to comment further on the ongoing discussions with RIM.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia initially said it would ban BlackBerry Messenger services, but RIM quickly managed to win a reprieve there.

And in India, another concession from RIM means that the Indian government will be allowed access to some data, and the arrangement will be reviewed after two months.

For all the latest UAE news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.