Blackberry prevails in Saudi, Lebanon investigates

Lebanese telco regulator launches smartphone data study.
Lebanon's TRA will conduct a study to
Lebanon's TRA will conduct a study to


Blackberry users in Saudi Arabia can breath a sigh of relief as authorities have announced the continuance of the services following a decision earlier this month to ban them.

In the wake of the proposed ban due to security concerns, the Kingdom will  continue to operate Blackberry's messenger, email and web services thanks to its creators, RIM, handing over a code that will allow authorities to read encrypted text sent by messenger. Saudi officials say this is essential in maintaining the nation's security protocols.

In far-less-conservative Lebanon, the country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or TRA, said it has embarked on a study looking into the local usage of data services in smartphones to assess their conformity to Lebanese laws and to ensure the safety of the country's communication networks.

The TRA hasn't made any decision yet on whether to stop any BlackBerry services, the telecom watchdog said in a statement posted on its website Friday. In addition to BlackBerry handsets, the technical, commercial and legal study will also cover personal digital assistants, or PDAs, and netbooks among other devices, it added.

"The TRA, in studying the related data services--messenger services, push-email, browsing, etc--used over smartphones in Lebanon, seeks to ensure consumers' rights to state-of-the-arts services on the one hand and to ensure that consumers' information remains secure on the other," the regulator said.

Once the study is completed and "in case of non-compliance, the Lebanese authorities will be taking the necessary measures," the TRA said.

The development comes as the country's security authorities are uncovering a growing string of cases involving spying for Israel, including in the telecom sector.

Other regional and Asian countries have also shown concerns over their inability to access Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry data, which they consider an issue of national security.

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