Kuwait asks BlackBerry maker to block porn: report

KUWAIT Tue Aug 3, 2010 5:06am EDT

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KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait has asked BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) to block pornographic sites though will not suspend services like other Gulf states have threatened to do, a local newspaper reported Tuesday.

RIM has given "initial approval" to block 3,000 porn sites at the request of Kuwait's communications ministry, the al-Jarida daily said, quoting a source it did not identify by name.

It said the Canadian manufacturer asked the ministry to give it until the end of the year to implement the block.

Separately, RIM has agreed to give India's security authorities the right to monitor e-mail sent and received on the smartphone, an Indian newspaper reported Tuesday.

The al-Jarida report said security was also part of the Kuwaiti negotiations.

It said Kuwait was working with RIM and local telecom companies to reach a set of "legal controls that would guarantee national security on the one hand, and the rights of citizens ...to use the device's services on the other."

The BlackBerry's coveted secrecy has come under scrutiny since Sunday, when the United Arab Emirates announced plans to ban BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from October 11.

The Gulf state cited national security and other concerns and said the move followed three years of unsuccessful negotiations with RIM.

Industry sources said Saudi Arabia had ordered local telecom companies to freeze BlackBerry Messenger from this month.

Combined, the Gulf states and India represent more than 2 million BlackBerry users, or about 5 percent of the 41 million devices in service worldwide.

RIM's Nasdaq-listed shares fell as much as 2.7 percent before closing down 0.96 percent at $56.98 Monday in New York, hurt in part by concerns over the risk that the UAE's ban might spread to other countries, according to analysts.

Its Toronto-listed shares resume trading Tuesday following a public holiday.

(Reporting by Diana Elias; Editing by Jason Neely)

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