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Govt spies may track your Blackberry

india Updated: Aug 03, 2010 22:04 IST

Reuters
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BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is willing to block porn sites and let government spies snoop on users, newspapers reported on Tuesday, following a shock ban on its key services in the Gulf.

The BlackBerry's secrecy has come under scrutiny since Sunday, when the UAE announced plans to ban BlackBerry messenger, email and Web browser services from October 11.

RIM has given "initial approval" to block 3,000 porn sites at the request of Kuwait's communications ministry, Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida said. Kuwait also has security concerns, it said, noting the government was working with RIM and telecom companies on "legal controls that would guarantee national security on the one hand, and the rights of citizens ... to use the device's services on the other."

Saudi Arabia has also asked service providers to cut off messenger, industry sources said.

Unlike rivals Nokia and iPhone maker Apple, RIM controls its own networks, which handle encrypted messages through centres in Canada and the UK.

That has made the BlackBerry popular as a secure way to communicate, but has worried intelligence agencies who fear the system could be used by militants.

The Canadian firm, keen to clear the air after the UAE's threatened ban and before Tuesday's expected launch of a new BlackBerry dubbed its "iPhone killer", said on Monday it would respect both customers and governments. "RIM does not disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government," it said.

The US on Monday said it was disappointed that the UAE planned to cut off BlackBerry services. However, in the UAE, regulators insisted they only announced plans for a ban after three years of failed negotiations to work out a compromise.

The Kuwait newspaper report said that RIM asked the government to give it until the end of the year to implement a block on pornographic websites.