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Saudi users denied right to message on Blackberrys

Despite the 'crack'berry becoming a symbol of a nation of office workers being unable to enjoy their free time, a debate over the encryption of data may soon see the device become the epitome of the right to 'free speech.'

The Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission yesterday agreed that all telecomms agencies in the Saudi area must block messages from being sent from Blackberry's, because they cannot be monitored by the state, V3 reports.

All messages sent from Blackberrys are sent - encrypted - to an external RIM server outside the country and so cannot be checked for their content. However, Blackberry, in veiled comments included within a statement to the press following the commission's inquiry, will refuse 'any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party ever possess a copy of the key.'

It has since been disclosed that this stance hasn't always been followed, particularly in the US itself, where 'the ability to tap communications is a part of surveillance and intelligence and law enforcement all over the world,' states Mark Rasch, the former chief of the computer crimes unit at the US Department of Justice.

One man's right to text is another man's right to decide who else gets to see that text, it seems.

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