Blackberry announces that it is once again leaving Pakistan due to its monitoring data demands. The organization recently approved the termination of all business proceedings in Pakistan. In July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) announced that it would shutter the company starting December 1st. Blackberry has been relatively silent during the time following the announcement from the PTA, however now that it has released its first Android handset, it has confirmed that it is leaving the country. According to Blackberry COO Marty Beard “The truth is that the Pakistani government wanted the ability to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every BES e-mail and BES BBM message. But BlackBerry will not comply with that sort of directive. As we have said many times, we do not support “back doors” granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world.
Pakistan’s demand was not a question of public safety; we are more than happy to assist law enforcement agencies in investigations of criminal activity. Rather, Pakistan was essentially demanding unfettered access to all of our BES customers’ information. The privacy of our customers is paramount to BlackBerry, and we will not compromise that principle” .
Blackberry has also confirmed that it is not only removing its Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES), it is also removing its Blackberry Internet Services, which came as news to the Pakistan government. Blackberry is stopping all services and removing any support in efforts to show its commitment to user privacy. The organization has prided itself on its privacy and security, which has generally been a major selling point for the organization. It isn’t clear how many Pakistani customers the withdrawal will effect, however, Pakistan has not been a major source of revenue for the company in a number of years. Albeit, this move does show Blackberry consumers that the organization values data and security. This move may prove to be a positive decision for blackberry, long term followers note that data security were not always a foremost priority of the company.
Blackberry’s CEO cautions customers that the request from the Pakistani government was not one in regards to public safety, as the government was requesting specific data from all of its customers and not just residents of Pakistan.
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