(9-Aug-10) Whether government officials and Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) executives are able to avert possible restrictions on BlackBerry use in the Middle East and Southeast Asia or not, the threat of a ban on the popular handset should serve as a wake up call for Canadian business travelers and organizations doing business abroad, according to industry watchers.
RIM is currently facing intense pressure to open its encrypted network to scrutiny by governments in situations that might affect national security. Saudi Arabia, the company's largest Middle East Market with more than 700,000 BlackBerry users announced a ban on some of the smartphone's services would commence Aug. 6. A similar ban in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) is scheduled to take effect in October.
Other countries contemplating a ride on the BlackBerry ban bandwagon include: India, Kuwait, Algeria, Lebanon and Indonesia. As of Friday, U.S. and Canadian government officials and RIM were in talks with authorities in the Persian Gulf and South Asia. Newswire service Reuters reported early Friday morning threats to cut off BlackBerry Messenger service in Saudi Arabia had not yet taken hold as users were still able to access the service.