Marty Beard, Chief Operating Officer at BlackBerry has announced in a blog post that the company is leaving the shores of Pakistan for good, and this is not unconnected with an alleged demand from the country’s government to have unrestrained access to BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) – something the communications company considers as a request to access customers’ information and communication contents.
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BlackBerry was given till November 30 to comply, but the company chose to exit the country rather than give its customers information. This November 30 deadline was recently extended to December 30, and BlackBerry has chosen to leave by the new deadline.
BlackBerry CEO Beard expresses regrets that his company would be leaving the country and leaving its teeming customers behind, but the company’s resolve to protecting its users’ privacy would not be traded for anything.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had in July this year informed mobile phone operators that BlackBerry’s BES servers would no longer be required in the country as from December due to some security reasons – but then, those reasons remain uncommunicated to the general public even though BlackBerry is aware of them.
BlackBerry understands that the Pakistani government desired unfettered access to its BES traffic so as to closely track email and BBM messages of BlackBerry users in the country – a sort of accessing customer’s information through a back door access.
BlackBerry said it had never allowed this in any country of the world, and would not start in Pakistan. It is a clear signal to pull out now.
The company emphasizes the point that it is willing to be of immense assistance to law enforcement agencies who are investigating any criminal activity; but aside this, it would not compromise its customers information by opening up its BES servers to the government for no just cause.
“BlackBerry provides the world’s most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers,” BlackBerry repeated again as it did in July when it was served the notice. “Protecting that security is paramount to our mission. While we recognize the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”
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The company pledges to continue to protect corporate, military, and government communications anywhere it operates, and that it’d rather pull out of any country than to provide open access to wholesale customers’ communications on its BES servers.