Blackberry fanatics out there may be looking to avoid The United Arab Emirates (UAE) come this October. The government of the UAE said last week they would be blocking RIM's Blackberry email, web, SMS, and messenger starting in October. The city-state of Dubai has clarified today that the restrictions will not only apply to the 500,000 local Blackberry subscribers, but to anyone that visits as well. It will not matter if your phone was purchased in another country; the block will be universal.
The UAE has been building at a breakneck pace for the last decade in order to become a hub for business and tourism. This policy seems to fly in the face of that commitment. Blackberry smartphones are widely used in business, and this restriction threatens to make them essentially useless. This is not just a problem for a few business executives; over 100,000 people pass through Dubai's airport each day. At least some of them will be Blackberry owners.
Observers agree that Dubai is attempting to force RIM to make user data available on request. The UAE is referring to this snooping as a "security concern". Should RIM make a deal so people can use their phones, or is the principal more important here?