Data Privacy Issues Prompt BlackBerry to Leave Pakistan

BlackBerry has said it will shut down operations completely in Pakistan by the end of the year over demands from the government for a "backdoor" to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Services traffic in the country, including encrypted emails and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

"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," said COO Marty Beard in a blog post. Beard said that BlackBerry has no issues helping law enforcement agencies with investigations, but it would not compromise customers' privacy. BlackBerry decided to pull out of Pakistan altogether after learning that the government would require "wholesale access" to its servers.

451 Research Director Chris Hazelton comments

"While BlackBerry has in the past allowed governments access to user data that is encrypted by encryption keys that BlackBerry holds itself, such as BBM and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), the company will not offer a backdoor into its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The primary reason is that customers and not BlackBerry hold the encryption keys to the enterprise mobility management (EMM) server. Another reason for not providing government access to its EMM servers is that BlackBerry believes that any backdoor that it provides for governments will weaken the offering that thousands of companies still leverage to secure corporate data. Due to many companies placing the BES server on the internal, trusted network, or with considerable holes punched in DMZ firewalls, any backdoor into the BlackBerry device with MDS enabled, or to the BES server itself, is likely to be a door into the rest of the enterprise network as well.

The key takeaway here is that BlackBerry is being transparent about who and how it is working with when it comes to sharing customer data in the post-Snowden era. This is a time where it is important for customers to understand how much of their data companies hold and retain. It also helps to have customers own the encryption keys so vendors can put the responsibility of sharing data with government agencies and law enforcement on the customer."



BlackBerry

Mobile Telecom

All / Mobility

New Alert Set

"My Alert"

Failed to Set Alert

"My Alert"