BlackBerry maker and Saudis working on fix: source

Fri Aug 6, 2010 4:55pm EDT
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By Souhail Karam

RIYADH (Reuters) - The makers of the BlackBerry were looking into the possibility of using servers in Saudi Arabia on Friday to avert a threatened ban on its Messenger services by Saudi government, which wants access to its encrypted network, a source said on Friday.

Despite some reports of temporary interruptions, BlackBerry users were able to access the Messenger service on Friday evening, hours after the kingdom had threatened to cut it off over concern it might be used to harm national security.

A source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said talks between maker Research In Motion and the Saudi telecom regulator had made progress.

"We are testing technical solutions with RIM ... Servers to be more exact," the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

RIM officials in Canada have not returned calls seeking comment on the talks.

The source said the two options to resolve the row were servers in Saudi Arabia or a patch which would allow the government access to data in cases affecting national security.

The regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), did not say whether it had begun enforcing the ban. Saudi Arabia is RIM's biggest Middle East market with about 700,000 users.

RIM is facing pressure to open its encrypted network to scrutiny by governments in circumstances affecting national security.   Continued...

<p>Veiled Saudi women talk on their BlackBerry phones at a shopping mall in Riyadh August 5, 2010. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed</p>