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Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

Blackberry to pull out of Pakistan following disagreements over government surveillance

Blackberry is to cease all its operations in Pakistan following disagreements with the Pakistani government over intrusions into user privacy rights.

The Canadian phone firm announced in a blog post that it had decided to "exit the market altogether" because the government wanted to monitor every message and email sent from its phones.

Blackberry’s Enterprise servers, which provide encrypted data and communications services to BlackBerry mobile phones, have been banned by the government meaning the company would have to allow "unfretted access” to its customers’ data.

On 30 December, the server ban in the region will come into effect at which point Blackberry will respond by shutting down its operations resulting in all Blackberry mobile phones ceasing to operate.

BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard said the company “will not comply” with the Pakistani government’s requests to “monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every email and BBM message.”

He continued: “We do not support ‘back doors’ granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world.

"Remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users' privacy. That is a compromise we are not willing to make.”

The phone firm has made security and user privacy its main directive in the last year since buying Israeli security firm WatchDox and German encrypted voice software provider Secusmart.

The moves are intended to shift its brand image away from the handsets market in which it has been continuously trounced by bigger rivals Apple and Samsung.

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