Skip to main content

UAE To Block Some BlackBerry Features over Security Issues

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Following a ruling that offshore data storage and messaging services used by BlackBerry devices were illegal, the United Arab Emirates has begun outlining plans to block BlackBerry email, messaging, and Web browsing services in the country starting in October…and the ban will apply to visitors as well as citizens of the UAE. The ban would mean that BlackBerry-using travelers to Dubai—on of the Middle East’s busiest travel hubs—would lose services on arriving in the country.

The government cites BlackBerry services offshore data storage as a security threat, since the government cannot monitor the encrypted communications or physically seize servers on which data and messages are stores.

The plans have immediately raised questions about whether the UAE’s intentions have to do with security, or whether they are also part of a broader plan to control online content and restrict access to information the government believes to be morally or politically unacceptable. The Emerati government maintains the devices and services could be used by terrorists; others note that the same technology is also lawfully used by everyone from businesspeople and everyday citizens to human rights activists.

The United Arab Emirates is not the only country taking on BlackBerry users: within hours of the Emerati announcement, a telecommunications official in Saudi Arabia indicated the kingdom would do the same, although no official statement has yet been made. Other nations—including Bahrain and India—have expressed similar concerns about BlackBerry services.

The UAE announcement follows a debacle last year in which one of the UAE’s two mobile operators attempted to require BlackBerry users to install software described as a mandatory update; testing revealed it was spy software.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
BlackBerry Key2 LE: Everything you need to know
The BlackBerry Key2 LE is back home at Verizon, but only for business types
BlackBerry Key2 LE Hands On

The BlackBerry Key LE is a lower-cost version of the Key2, doing away with some of the more high-tech features seen on the expensive sister phone, and cutting costs by using different materials for the body, to create a more affordable but still distinctly BlackBerry smartphone.

You can check out our Key2 LE review to learn more about what it's like to live with the phone, but in the meantime, here are all the technical specs, details, and availability options.
The BlackBerry Key2 LE is available to buy at Verizon, but only to business and enterprise customers, according to reports. Verizon's selling the Key2 LE for $450 without a contract, or for $100 if you sign up for a two-year plan. The phone does not show up on Verizon's non-business store, so there does not seem to be the option to buy the phone for this price without a business plan.

Read more
BlackBerry Key2: Everything you need to know
The dramatic BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available in the U.S.
blackberry keytwo news and rumors key2 red main

Blackberry is always at the top of its game when it sticks to what it knows best -- security-focused phones with QWERTY keyboards. The Blackberry KeyOne was a return to form for the company, and its successor has improved upon it in every way. Here's everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Key2.
The BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available


Read more
BlackBerry sets own pace for 2019: Strikes Verizon deal, but no 5G phone coming
BlackBerry Key2 LE review


BlackBerry continues to look to its roots to continue growing in 2019, but isn’t about to jump into one of the biggest — and buzzword-filled — mobile trends of the moment. First, BlackBerry is going home this year, and no, we don’t mean to Canada. We mean it’ll be selling its latest smartphone on the Verizon network in the U.S.. Anyone waiting for a BlackBerry Android phone with 5G capabilities will have to wait at least a year before one arrives.
Verizon deal

Read more