No Facetime for Middle Eastern iPhone 4 Users? [Rumor]

saudi iphone 4 FaceTime

saudi iphone 4 FaceTime

A Facebook thread from SaudiMac has noted that all references to Facetime have been removed from Apple’s regional sites.

This is a rumor at the moment but, sounds pretty plausible based on what has happened recently with RIMs Blackberry in Qatar and Yemen, as well as India. In the Blackberry’s case the governments of some countries objected to data being sent by those devices in an encrypted form that they were unable to intercept and decipher “if the need arose for security reasons”.

The complaint is not that unreasonable when one considers that countries like the US and UK already unofficially have access to Blackberry’s data in a not-so-secret, but oft denied agreement with RIM.

Underlying the possible “security” reasons for wanting to monitor mobile communications, there was actually in many cases a far more simple social issue at play. Blackberry’s were being used by the young, most irritatingly to some, young women, to send messages of a personal nature to their partners! Something that doesn’t play well in some cultures, where the freedom of the youth of today seem to be accelerating beyond that which the older generation deem acceptable.

Imagine those same people’s horror when they discovered that Apple’s latest mobile phone will allow unfettered, network free video calling! Of course that reason for the objection to Facetime is just one possibility.

Many of these countries also have much stricter restrictions on the flavor of traffic that is allowed to be used over public networks. The communication protocols behind Facetime are one of those that are explicitly banned by certain governments and their mobile network providers.

Is this a government conspiracy, Telcos protecting their profits, or a culture clash with Apple’s new Facetime technology?

Time will tell…

What do you think?┬áHave your say in the comments…

[TUAW]

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