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UAE, Saudi Plans To Block BlackBerry Services

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have announced plans to block some services of BlackBerry smart phones in a dispute over the ability to monitor messages sent to and from the devices.

The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said Sunday it will suspend e-mail, web browsing and messenger services on BlackBerry devices starting October 11.

Authorities in the UAE have said BlackBerry smart phones pose a potential threat to national security because users' data is managed overseas. This process prevents the UAE government from monitoring BlackBerry messages coming out of the country.

Hours after the UAE announcement, Saudi telecommunications officials said Saudi Arabia would start blocking the BlackBerry messenger service later this month.

The moves renew concerns about efforts by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to control the flow of information. Both countries actively censor websites and other forms of media seen as harming national security.

The UAE said Sunday key BlackBerry services would remain suspended until a solution that is compatible with the country's telecommunication laws is reached.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.