The United Arab Emirates, home to Middle East business hub Dubai, said yesterday it may suspend BlackBerry e-mail services in October because of concern the devices could be used in crimes. The move comes days after an official in India said that country may ban BlackBerry e-mail use and reports that Saudi Arabia could take similar steps.
“It’s a reflection of fears of cyber-security and espionage that now extend to mobile phones,” said Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, who helped colleagues uncover a plot against the Indian government that involved computers in China. “It’s the type of thing that will become more common for RIM as they grapple with public policy and ethical issues in emerging markets.”
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, is focusing on countries including India, the U.A.E., Indonesia and Brazil as a decade of North American expansion slows. Revenue from outside North America rose to 37 percent of RIM’s $15 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, up from 23 percent in the fiscal year ended February, 2005.