Kuwaiti MP lauds action taken against BlackBerry by two Gulf states

August 5, 2010

A Kuwaiti lawmaker has praised the steps made by Gulf states to block services by BlackBerry mobile phones.

“We highly welcome the latest measures adopted by countries in the Gulf on the BlackBerry services,” MP Mohammad Al Hayef said. “We have repeatedly warned about the misuse of the device and the negative effects on ethics and security. Several families are not aware of its uses,” said the Islamist MP.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia last week said they were blocking some functions of the Blackberry mobile phone, claiming security concerns.

Al Hayef said that the measures taken by the two Gulf countries help preserve their Islamic identity and their special features.

“The authorities in Kuwait have told me that they are closely cooperating with other Gulf agencies on the BlackBerry. More meetings on the issue are expected to be held next week,” he said.

A Kuwaiti newspaper this week reported that BlackBerry makers Research in Motion (RIM) has told Kuwaiti authorities that it agreed to block access to thousands of pornographic sites from the Arabian Gulf state.

“The communication ministry has sent to RIM a list of 3,000 pornographic sites that should be blocked,” Al Jareeda daily reported on Tuesday. “RIM’s response has been positive and the company has requested a delay until the end of the year,” the newspaper said, citing “well-informed sources” that it did not name.

“The sources stressed that BlackBerry services would continue in Kuwait and would not be blocked. However, there are consultations with local providers to agree on a set of legal regulations that ensure both national security and people’s rights to use the services,” the daily said.

In India, a local paper also on Tuesday reported that RIM agreed to allow Indian security agencies to monitor its BlackBerry services in an attempt to avert an outright government ban.

According to The Economic Times newspaper, RIM has “offered to share with security agencies its technical codes for corporate email services, open up access to all consumer emails within 15 days and also develop tools in six to eight months to allow monitoring of chats and telecom department documents.”

“In an internal note, the telecom department said RIM had agreed to come around, following serious pressure from the Indian government. RIM will provide further details on its proposals to the telecom ministry on Tuesday, following which the communications ministry will ask the home ministry and Intelligence Bureau to take a call on whether these solutions adequately address their concerns,” the paper said.

“RIM executives had presented these compromise solutions to India’s telecom department during meetings on July 27 and July 30. These meetings were held after the Indian government had given RIM a 15-day deadline, ending July, to ensure that its email and other data services comply with ‘formats that can be read by security and intelligence agencies,” The Economic Times said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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