BlackBerry is exiting Pakistan rather than give up user data

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In response to the demands from Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority that it grant the government access to backdoors in its encrypted services, BlackBerry has decided to exit the Pakistani market. The company announced as much on its official blog this morning, stating that the government’s demands were not about public safety, something BlackBerry claims it’s more than willing to assist with, and therefore goes against the company’s beliefs and policies.

After November 30, BlackBerry will no longer operate in Pakistan. 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. In July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority notified the country’s mobile phone operators that BlackBerry’s BES servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country starting in December “for security reasons.” 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. 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.

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