8 Aug 2010

Saudi Arabia considers BlackBerry deal

8:42 am on 8 August 2010

Saudi officials are looking at a possible deal to prevent a ban on the Blackberry smartphone in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia had threatened to cut off the phone's Messenger function to users in the country on Friday, because it operates an encrypted service that cannot be monitored.

Officials said a deal was likely whereby the authorities would have access to decipher exchanged messages, the BBC reports.

Blackberry has about 700,000 subscribers in Saudi Arabia. Services were reported to have stopped working for four hours on Friday but then resumed.

On Saturday, the Communications and Information Technology Commission said it gave three telecom operators 48 hours to try out proposed solutions.

The UAE has said it will ban Blackberry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing in October.

Several other countries have expressed security concerns over the Research In Motion Blackberry smartphone, including India, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Algeria, over the potential threats its network could pose to security.