Foreigners, Beware: UAE’s Blackberry Crackdown Continues

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REUTERS/Mosab Omar

The United Arab Emirates, in its efforts to prohibit Blackberry use within its borders announced today that a new set of anti-Blackberry rules will also affect foreign visitors traveling through the Middle Eastern country.

Enforcement of the Blackberry ban is scheduled to begin on October 11, at which point Blackberry services such as BlackBerry Messenger, e-mail, and web browsing will be suspended for citizens and travelers alike.

The impending ban is the epicenter of heated debate among Emiratis.  UAE officials behind the ban argue that several of BlackBerry’s features function outside UAE laws, causing “judicial, social, and national security concerns.”  BlackBerry’s encryption systems operate overseas, safe from UAE attempts to monitor for illegal activities.  Staunch critics insist the ban is merely a vehicle for the country’s government to exercise further control over speech and communication they consider objectionable, warning the BlackBerry ban could negatively impact the country’s hopes to become a business and tourist center. (via Yahoo News)