BlackBerry services remain ‘banned’

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The use of smart phone, BlackBerry services remain “banned” until investigations into the legality of its use in the country have been completed, it has emerged.

Telecommunications industry regulatory body, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said discussion with service providers that intend to introduce BlackBerry services were still underway.

“We are discussing with operators the impact of the BlackBerry service on the lawful Interception of Communications Act,” Potraz director-general Charles Sibanda said in a written response.

The Act provides for the lawful interception and monitoring of certain communications in the course of their transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service or system in Zimbabwe; to provide for the establishment of a monitoring centre; and to provide for any other matters connected with, or incidental to the foregoing.

Leading mobile telecommunications company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ), which earlier expressed interest to introduce the Smartphone’s services on its network, was tight-lipped on the possibilities of introducing the services soon.

EWZ chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni said BlackBerry services was one of several value-added services that Econet had considered for introduction, as part of a continuing process of investigating opportunities and developing innovations for the market.

He said these processes take place under the guidance of the regulatory authorities who take any necessary steps at various stages of product development.

“We are unable to comment on specific stages at this time. However, we will continue to engage the regulator, as per custom, to ensure full compliance at all times,” said Mboweni.

According to research, it has been proved regulators believe rigorous encryption and security network were endangering security concerns as they were difficult to monitor.

Last year, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and India threatened to shut down the operation of BlackBerry email and Web browsing services in their countries as they were one of the major mediums of communication to mobilise masses.