STAFF REPORT ISB: BlackBerry has announced to formally shut down its operations in Pakistan after the PTA sought the backdoor access to the companys encrypted services.
“The company recognizes the need to co-operate with lawful government investigations of criminal activity, but it has never permitted wholesale access to BlackBerry servers,” said BlackBerry operations chief Marty Beard in a blog post.
Reportedly, BlackBerry has in the past cooperated with information requests from various countries, including neighbouring India, but it has restricted unfettered access to its BIS facility.
The company said Pakistan was only after its BES data – not consumers private messages. “That is a compromise we are not willing to make”.
“BlackBerry provides the worlds most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers”. However, it has blocked access to YouTube in the country since 2012 over a row regarding removal of a certain video, showing its happy to deny services that dont comply with its censorship demands. The Canadian tech company made the announcement Monday, saying its last day of service in Pakistan will be December 30. While the government claims the access is necessary for security reasons, analysts say the government is increasing electronic surveillance that targets, opposition politicians, journalists, and activists.
The company endured a years-long battle with the Indian government over a similar issue in 2011.
Governments, accustomed to tapping phone lines and opening mail in decades past, want access to peoples digital data to help stop crime and security threats.