Not app for UAE: Smartphone makers to stop obscene features

TRA acts on complaints that smart phones found pre-loaded with indecent applications

The UAE has asked major smartphone manufacturers to stop obscene applications in their handsets destined for the country as they violate the conservative nature of its society, a newspaper has said.

Smart phones made by Apple, Blackberry and other major handset producers were found to be loaded with pornographic picture, obnoxious jokes and other indecent items, which are used by many teen ages in the UAE, Dubai-based Arabic language daily Emarat Al Youm said.

A 14-year-old boy whose father bought him a smart phone was then offered by the manufacturer to download some items free. When his father saw the items, he discovered that most of them were obscene jokes and pictures.

The paper said such applications had already prompted the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which oversees the telecom sector in the second largest Arab economy, to ask mobile phone makers to stop such features.

“We have addressed those companies to ask them to delete obscene features on handsets destined for the UAE market.

We found that some of those features are not suitable for the country’s tradition and ethical values.

Those firms have positively responded to our request and are in the process of removing all indecent applications,” TRA director general Mohammed Al Ghanim said.

The paper quoted Ahmed Al Hammadi, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi, as saying he had bought a smart phone for himself but decided to give it to his teen age son after he found it difficult to use it since most of its applications are in English.

“A few days later, I noticed that the phone started to take most of my son’s time. He even started to use it more than his computer,” he said.

“I then asked him to let me use his phone for a while and found that the handset is full of educational and entertainment features, but I noticed that some of them contained obscene pictures downloaded through the producing company.”

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