As an aftermath of attempted negotiations between BlackBerry and Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), the former has decided to exit the Pakistani market as of November 30 to avoid monitoring of its main business enterprise server and e-mail messages.
In July this year, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said it would lock down BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) by December 1 for security reason. PTA demanded access to BlackBerry’s encryption of emails, BBM messages and other data from its users in the name of national security.
Blackberry attempted to negotiate with PTA but it seems that the conversation didn’t go so well. Today, the company has announced that it will shut its operations in Pakistan from Monday, with some extra emphasis on BES which was centre focus of this discussion.
BlackBerry COO Marty Beard said in a blog post –
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.
Pakistan’s demand was not a question of public safety; we are more than happy to assist law enforcement agencies in investigations of criminal activity. Rather, Pakistan was essentially demanding unfettered access to all of our BES customers’ information. The privacy of our customers is paramount to BlackBerry, and we will not compromise that principle.
Although, Pakistani government’s directive was aimed only at BES servers, BlackBerry have decided to exit the market altogether.
Although, BlackBerry doesn’t have much fab following in Pakistan, this move greatly emphasizes BlackBerry’s concern over its user security, which had garnered it a popularity among enterprises and businesses in the first place.