Security Experts:

BlackBerry to Continue Operating in Pakistan

After saying that it would cease offering services in Pakistan after refusing a government demand for a backdoor into its encrypted communication service, BlackBerry said it will now continue service in the market. 

“After productive discussions, the Government of Pakistan has rescinded its shutdown order, and BlackBerry has decided to remain in the Pakistan market,” Marty Beard, Chief Operating Officer at BlackBerry, wrote in a blog post.

The Canadian smartphone maker said in November that the Pakistani government was looking for ways to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country. After refusing to comply with the demand, the government said it would prohibit BlackBerry’s BES servers from operating in Pakistan at the end of December.

Initially ordered to exit the country by November 30, BlackBerry was allowed to continue operations for another month, extending the shutdown order to Dec. 30.

“We are grateful to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistani government for accepting BlackBerry’s position that we cannot provide the content of our customers’ BES traffic, nor will we provide access to our BES servers,” Beard continued.

In July 2014, BlackBerry acquired German voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping firm Secusmart, in an attempt to boost the security and privacy protection capabilities of its services. Pakistan, on the other hand, is looking for additional surveillance capabilities, and details on its data collection plans started to emerge in July 2015, claiming that the country’s government was looking to reach a digital espionage capacity that would rival that of the United States.  

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.