Bluetooth’s Challenge to Saudi Culture

By Deane Barker on August 20, 2005

Bluetooth helps Saudis break taboos: Here’s an interesting article about how technology is challenging religion in the Middle East. In Saudi Araba, unrelated men and women aren’t allowed to comminucate in public. But since Bluetooth-enabled phones are discrete and there’s no record trail behind, it’s being used to talk on the sly.

“It’s more fun coming to a restaurant these days,” said Mona, 21, as her two friends giggled. Their Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones rested on the table next to the remnants of a dinner of club sandwiches and fries. […]

With Bluetooth, men and women can safely flirt at malls, restaurants and even traffic lights.

For the most part, the messages are innocent. But for this conservative society, it is pretty bold stuff.

Many images feature babies — some blowing kisses — perhaps because women consider them cute. Animated cartoons doing belly dances, dreamy Arabic songs and sappy, sentimental messages are also popular.

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