Blackberry to exit Pakistan over demands to provide backdoor access to government


Blackberry has taken a strong stance in the face of a tricky situation over in Pakistan. The company has received demands from Pakistan’s government to provide backdoor access to the communications of anyone who uses their services. This includes everyone who uses BES products such as BBM and email.

According to Blackberry, the access would involve unadulterated monitoring of nearly all forms of communication that takes place over their BES platform, which means anyone with a Blackberry could be spied on for whichever reasons the Pakistani government wanted.


The Waterloo company responded with an awesome gesture: they will simply exit the Pakistani market. Government officials aren’t likely to cry over that move, but it does send a strong message that some companies out here still care about privacy, even if their motive for wanting such access is to gather intelligence that will help protect their country.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Blackberry waffled around a question regarding backdoor access for law enforcement, noting that they felt it was important to strike a balance between privacy, safety, security and cooperation. Some took that to mean Blackberry had no problem providing backdoor access to their devices and services, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Their stance is that they’ll work with law enforcement officials whenever and however possible, but they won’t provide a catch-all backdoor for them to snoop in on people whenever they want.

If anyone has doubted Blackberry’s passion for ensuring your privacy and security then perhaps this move should help erase a bit of that. No one will ever be 100% devoid of privacy paranoia, of course, but it does go a long way toward backing up their mission statement.

[via Blackberry]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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