BlackBerry says no to Pakistani backdoor gambit
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.