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BlackBerry: Pakistan Wanted to Creep on Our Users, So Bye-Bye

Image: BlackBerry: Pakistan Wanted to Creep on Our Users, So Bye-Bye

A Blackberry Q10 smartphone. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvicx)

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 10:35 AM

BlackBerry won't be offering telecommunications services in Pakistan because the company refused to comply with requests to let the government monitor network traffic on its servers.

Originally ordered by the government to pull out of Pakistan by Nov. 30, a blog post on the BlackBerry website said that date has been extended to Dec. 30. 

BlackBerry was warned in August that the Pakistani government had asked three telecom companies to cease offering BlackBerry's encrypted messaging services, offered on the company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server, to customers, according to Motherboard

"This demonstrates, at a policy level, that a very large government is willing to ban communications if they can’t gain access to it," said Chris Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow at digital rights group Citizen Lab. "Maybe it’s just Pakistan, and nobody else will do it, but it’s certainly a strong change to, 'If we can’t backdoor it, then we will ban it.'"

In its blog post, BlackBerry's Marty Beard, chief operating officer, said the government cited "security reasons" as the basis for asking BlackBerry to cease operations.

"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," Beard said. "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."

CNN Money reported that BlackBerry faced this same battle with India in 2013, ultimately handing over access to some messages, but never those on the encrypted BES. 

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BlackBerry won't be offering telecommunications services in Pakistan because the company refused to comply with requests to let the government monitor network traffic on its servers.
blackberry, pakistan, users
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2015-35-01
Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 10:35 AM
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