Wednesday, August 4, 2010

UAE says goodbye to Blackberry

I’m sure every one of us has at one point received a text message calling on to participate in a rally, a candlelight vigil, or a protest of some sort. It is but part of our right to peaceful assembly. With the technology available to us today, often a “textbrig” or a “textree” is all it takes to create a buzz and encourage people to attend a certain protest or at the very least wear a black shirt or a black ribbon for the day. I remember a classmate desperately looking for a black cardigan or jacket just because she didn’t get the “memo” to wear black the next day. It’s disturbing to know then that in some countries like the United Arab Emirates, people are being arrested solely for trying to organize a protest against an increase in the price of gasoline using their BlackBerry phones.

The organizer “Saud” was arrested by the Emirati authorities since he inadvertently included his BlackBerry PIN in the BBM message that he disseminated. He was even interrogated to reveal the identities of those he had been messaging and later charged with inciting opposition to the government. The UAE government already issued a statement that beginning October, BlackBerry mobile device service will be blocked in the United Arab Emirates after device maker Research in Motion refused to comply with the government’s demands to make the phones easier to monitor.

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