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UAE raises questions about BlackBerry curbs

/ Source: The Associated Press

The United Arab Emirates' telecommunications agency said Saturday that BlackBerry smartphone services would remain available in the country, suggesting it may roll back on plans to limit a high-security option.

A statement by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said "all Blackberry services" would continue for companies and individual subscribers, but did not specify whether it included a system that allows data to be shipped via servers abroad.

Earlier, the agency said that only qualifying companies with 20 or more BlackBerry users would have access to the Blackberry Enterprise Server, which is used by many international companies and business executives.

The telecoms agency did not provide additional details. The BlackBerry maker, Canada-based Research in Motion Ltd., has not commented since the UAE curbs were made public Thursday.

The UAE in October backed off a plan to shut off BlackBerry messaging, email and Web browsing services partly because of security concerns. Critics said the move also aimed to monitor political activists in the federation.