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Saudi firms face Blackberry fines

Saudi firms face Blackberry fines
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Saudi Arabian telecoms firms face fines of a million euros if they do not obey orders to suspend some BlackBerry services immediately.

The United Arab Emirates has also threatened to ban some BlackBerry functions because of national security concerns. It wants to block emails and access to the internet; both countries are set on banning instant messaging.

They are each demanding access to encrypted customer data because they complain they cannot locally monitor communications via Blackberry handsets.

“I really don’t see them making that compromise,” said Charles Golvin, a telecoms analyst with Forrester Research. “Because again, I think this is a core tenant of the strength of the BlackBerry platform and I think that’s something they are going to stand on firmly.”

BlackBerry’s Canadian manufacturer Research In Motion says the customer security system means neither the company nor any third party can gain access to crucial data. It says it cannot bend the rules for any particular country.

Meanwhile, India has also warned that BlackBerry services could be halted. It wants full access to a messaging service it fears could be misused by militants.