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Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman has said they do not plan to block BlackBerry services even as Saudi Arabia is working with the device maker RIM on a solution that could avert a ban of some services. This came a few days after the UAE said it would suspend all BlackBerry message and email services in October 2010 “due to security and (…) social concerns”.

 

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Saudi mobile firms were testing three servers to send communications and data through Saudi Arabia before Canada to address Riyadh's concerns over security. The Saudi regulator has said it will cut the BlackBerry's Messenger function for some 700,000 users in the kingdom. Meanwhile, local media reports from Saudi Arabia said BlackBerry messenger was still functioning after a deadline expired for telecoms firms to find a solution allowing authorities to monitor the service.

 

Many users in Jeddah said the service was working without interruption, but no official announcement on an agreement to allow government monitoring has been made.

 

August 10, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk

 

The announcement by Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman are all very positive in that they indicate the countries’ governments are not intent on monitoring email communications, in stark contrast to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

 

Political Capital has predicted before the ban in the UAE that a ban would send the wrong signals on business-friendliness of the country safety of information, in a country with strong links between the private and public sectors. After the UAE announced the ban, Saudi Arabia quickly followed, but the damage that the proposed ban has inflicted on the UAE image of transparency and business-friendliness was greatest. This is because it was the first country to announce the ban and the one trying to demonstrate business-friendliness and transparency. Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman’s separate announcement will help their overall image.