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Wed 10 Mar 2010 02:21 PM

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Etisalat 'unaware' of B'berry Messenger blocking plans

'I doubt there will be any prevention of such a service in the UAE' - Mohammed Omran.

Etisalat 'unaware' of B'berry Messenger blocking plans
TELECOM CO: Etisalat faced criticism last year when software it pushed to its 145,000 BlackBerry subscribers, was later identified as spyware.(Getty Images)

Etisalat chairman Mohammed Omran has said he is unaware of any plans to block or monitor the popular Blackberry Messenger service in the UAE.

“I’m not aware of anything about blocking Blackberry Messenger in the UAE,” he told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

“We are on very good terms with the regulator and other agencies in the UAE and I think everyone understands the importance of having that kind of telecom service available to every customer,” he continued. “I doubt there will be any prevention of such a service in the UAE.”

Blackberry users in Saudi Arabia have been up in arms since it was reported last week that the Gulf country’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) planned to monitor the Messenger service, which allows owners to share photos, videos, SMS messages and voice tones.

The reports said the CITC had asked Canada-based Research In Motion, the company that owns BlackBerry Messenger, to allow it to monitor messages sent by the mobile device.

The reports added that the CITC was threatening to shut down the service in the event of noncompliance. The CITC has yet to respond to the reports.

Etisalat faced criticism in July last year when software it pushed to its 145,000 BlackBerry subscribers, was later identified as spyware.

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