UAE says BlackBerry data handling violates the law

BlackBerrys came to the UAE in 2006 but appear to violate a law passed in 2007, regulator says

The offshore storage of data by Research In Motion for its BlackBerry smartphones conflicts with a 2007 law passed in the United Arab Emirates, the country's telecommunications regulator has said.

BlackBerrys are the only devices used in the country that have data managed by a foreign, commercial agency and stored outside of the UAE, according to a report from the Emirates News Agency, which is part of the country's Ministry of Information and Culture.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said that as a result of how that data is stored "certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions."

BlackBerrys arrived in the UAE in 2006 before the country implemented national security legislation in 2007 that applies to the devices, the report said.

"Like many other countries, we have been working for a long time to resolve these critical issues, with the objective of finding a solution that safeguards our consumers and operates within the boundaries of UAE law," the regulator said.

RIM representatives contacted in London did not have an immediate comment. Officials from the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency in the UAE could not be reached.

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Jeremy Kirk

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