BlackBerry closes operations in Pakistan after Govt. demands for user data

BlackBerry has been too much concerned on the data security and a non flexible privacy policy. This becomes the reason as BlackBerry after a long speculation formally announced pulling out of cellular market in Pakistan. All operations are called off on November 30, following a notice by government of Pakistan.

According to the release issued by BlackBerry it served notice to shut down service by end of November as the company will not be allowed to operate in Pakistan. The decision was taken much earlier but as per government notice the company was barred from running in the country from December.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority being the main regulatory authority in the country issued the notice to carriers in the country in July. The PTA notice conditioned the operations of mobile carriers due to security reasons, pushing companies to either compromise privacy or shut down operations.

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The move was confirmed by BlackBerry COO in a blog post explaining the situation in which the company decided to leave Pakistan. According to the COO Marty Beard government of Pakistan wanted to keep a check on company’s entire Enterprise Service traffic in the country. The government demanded to access to its all emails and BBM messages which the BlackBerry found not practical to comply with.

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.

COO admitted that the company supports assisting law enforcement agencies but he made it clear that the demand by Pakistan government was not a question of public safety. According to Marty Beard the company doesn’t grant access to customers’ data through back doors.

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He called the Pakistan’s demand as a back door access request which also included data that were not concerned with security. At the end the COO reaffirmed that granting access to BBM messages and emails will violate privacy of customers which the company will not compromise.

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