Saudis to halt BlackBerry service



(CNN) -- The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission asked mobile communications companies in Saudi Arabia to halt BlackBerry service in the kingdom beginning August 5, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday.

The mandate applies to businesses and individuals "because the manufacturer of the devices couldn't meet the regulatory requirements of the commission and it is not in accordance with the regulations and conditions of licenses issued to service providers, at its present state," it said.

It did not elaborate.

Research In Motion, the Canadian company that produces the BlackBerry, did not immediately respond to a request for reaction.

Tuesday's decision comes a day after the United Arab Emirates defended its decision to suspend BlackBerry internet service, with its ambassador in Washington arguing the United States requires the same "regulatory compliance" for national security reasons.

The statement from Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba came after a U.S. State Department spokesman criticized the UAE's decision to restrict BlackBerry e-mail, instant messaging and Web browsing. Al Otaiba said the comments were "disappointing and contradict the U.S. government's own approach to telecommunications regulation."

"In fact, the UAE is asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance -- and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight -- that BlackBerry grants the U.S. and other governments and nothing more," the ambassador said. "Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the U.S. for the very same reasons: to protect national security and to assist in law enforcement."

The state-run Emirates News Agency reported Sunday that the UAE would suspend BlackBerry's data service as of October 11. The announcement said certain services "allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE."

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the move "a dangerous precedent." He told reporters Monday that the United States supports the free flow of information, "And we will be clarifying with the UAE their reasons for making this announcement."

"It's about what we think is an important element of democracy, human rights and freedom of information and the flow of information in the 21st century," Crowley said. He said the United States understood the emirates' concerns "about how information can be used by those who wish to attack the UAE or others," but added, "We think this is not necessarily the best way to accomplish it."

On Sunday, Telecom expert Abdel Rahman al Mazi told CNN that BlackBerry is considered to have the most secure operating system, "but on that same wavelength, you have to think that some of the activities that go on within the BlackBerry user community could need to be monitored by some government agencies for security reasons."

Research in Motion has yet to provide any official response to CNN about the issue. But the UAE has said it has tried to reach a solution to the issue with the company.

"It is regrettable that after several years of discussions, BlackBerry is still not compliant with UAE regulatory requirements even as it complies with similar policies in other countries," Al Otaiba said. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,098.45 18.88 0.11%
Nasdaq 4,580.27 22.58 0.50%
S&P 500 2,003.37 6.63 0.33%
Treasuries 2.34 0.01 0.39%
Data as of 3:52am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.09 0.08 0.50%
Apple Inc 102.50 0.25 0.24%
Intel Corp 34.92 0.27 0.78%
Facebook Inc 74.82 0.96 1.31%
General Electric Co 25.98 -0.03 -0.12%
Data as of Aug 29

Sections

The deal would value Vice at $2.5 billion. The online media company would also create content for the cable network, delivering a wider audience. More

Gas prices are falling to nearly $3 a gallon in some parts of South Carolina, and that will soon be common in much of the country. More

Netflix told the FCC that its speed on the Comcast network became so slow that customers began dropping their service. More

The Coolest Cooler is the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the site's history, raising $13.3 million from over 62,000 backers. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.