Government ordered shutdown of enterprise service unless BlackBerry gave total access.
In response to a demand for backdoor access to its enterprise messaging products, BlackBerry is completely pulling out of the Pakistan market. The announcement comes as a ban on providing BlackBerry Enterprise Services over mobile networks in Pakistan was due to take effect today.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s ban on BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) was issued this summer, and it was planned to become effective on November 30, as Ars reported in July. “Security reasons” were cited as the cause of the ban. But just before the restriction was announced, Privacy International issued a report that warned of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s efforts to gain network surveillance capabilities within the country that rival those of the National Security Agency.
While the government has pushed back the effective date of that order to December 30, BlackBerry COO Marty Beard announced today that the company would exit the Pakistani market completely rather than meet government demands for unfettered access to the service’s message traffic.
In a blog post, Beard wrote, “While we regret leaving this important market and our valued customers there, remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users’ privacy. That is a compromise we are not willing to make.” Beard said that the Pakistani government demanded “the ability to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every BES e-mail and BES BBM message,” but that the company had refused, prompting the ban.
“As we have said many times,” Beard explained, “we do not support ‘back doors’ granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world.” As a result, the company will completely shutter operations in Pakistan.
SOURCE: Sean Gallagher | Ars Technica