Egypt and Kuwait also have security concerns over Blackberry services, reports said Tuesday, after two Gulf countries this week started seeking bans on some of the smart phone’s features.
“The producer received all necessary approvals to sell the phones in Egypt, but this will not prevent the devices from being banned should they indeed pose a security threat,” the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority said in a statement quoted by local media.
A decision on a potential ban will reportedly be made after further investigation.
Kuwait also said it had concerns, even after Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) agreed to block 3,000 pornographic websites on users’ devices in the Gulf state at the end of the year.
But Kuwaiti government officials were quick to stress in the al-Jarida newspaper that “Blackberry services in Kuwait will not stop.” The officials said the government is looking to “develop legal controls to ensure national safety as well as the rights of citizens and residents to use the services of the device.” On Sunday, the United Arab Emirated had said that it would suspend Blackberry messaging and internet browsing services in October as they were “causing judicial, social and national security concerns.” An official in Saudi Arabia also indicated a ban on Blackberry messaging services could come into effect there at the end of August.
A UAE mobile network last year was accused by Blackberry’s makers of trying to push a piece of software on customers that would reroute their data.
The carrier, Etisalat, said the application was a “software upgrade designed to improve performance.” But RIM offered customers a way to remove the application, saying it did not improve services but actually rerouted customers’ data.
The bans and threats of future service limitations come as some governments grow increasingly worried over their inability to monitor information and possible threats to stability and security in their countries.
India and Bahrain for instance have said that the tight encryption used on the Blackberry network could be a security threat. France has also issued warnings about the network.
The Canada—based RIM, which has some 46 million users worldwide, issued a statement reassuring customers that it would “not compromise the integrity and security of the Blackberry.”