BlackBerry exits Pakistan, rejects govt's data requests

Dunya News

The Canadian smartphone maker enjoys a strong presence across the emerging nations in Asia.

OTTAWA (Web Desk) - BlackBerry confirmed on Monday that it will exit the Pakistan market as of November 30 over user privacy concerns, saying that it has not managed to meet a compromise with the country‘s telecommunications authority.

In July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) notified the country‘s mobile phone operators that BlackBerry‘s BES servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country starting in December “for security reasons,” the company‘s chief operating officer Marty Beard stated in a blog post.

He said: "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 for open access to monitor a significant swath of our customers‘ communications within its borders left us no choice but to exit the country entirely," Marty Beard added. 

Repeated terror attacks in Pakistan have compelled the government to monitor all domestic phone lines and Internet traffic.

BlackBerry encrypts data such as emails and its BlackBerry Messenger messages sent between a user‘s  phone and public networks, ensuring greater privacy for users but making life harder for police and intelligence agencies.

The company has faced similar problems in the past in India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. However, the services of the company were resumed under more limitations.