UAE Bans Some BlackBerry Data Services

The United Arab Emirates government plans to ban some data services for RIM’s BlackBerry devices, starting with instant messaging services some time in August. BlackBerry email and Web browsing services will be blocked come October 11, too, according to the Wall Street Journal.

U.A.E. officials are blocking BlackBerry data services because RIM manages the information through its own proprietary systems that local governments may not be able to access for investigations because the servers are housed outside of their jurisdiction.

The ban ends failed attempts by government officials to get BlackBerry services hosted locally to comply with U.A.Ae regulations.

“BlackBerry data is immediately exported offshore, where it’s managed by a foreign, commercial organization,” government officials said. “Certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national-security concerns.”

The restrictions will apply to BlackBerry owners traveling into the U.A.E, too. Regular services will be restored once they leave the area.

Despite the new restrictions, BlackBerry owners will still be able to use their smartphones — assuming they’re satisfied with just voice and text messaging services.