BlackBerry has officially confirmed that it’ll no longer be operating in Pakistan, as the country’s government norms have left them with no choice but to withdraw from an ‘important market”. The move comes over demands from the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority to get backdoor access to BlackBerry’s encrypted services.
“Remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users’ privacy. That is a compromise we are not willing to make,” said BlackBerry in a post.
This adds further turmoil to the already struggling Canadian manufacturer, as the company is now asked to abandon the country if it doesn’t submit to the government’s demands. The Pakistani government essentially wants access to all the encrypted traffic from emails to BBM messages running through BlackBerry’s Enterprise services. The company who has established itself on the premise that users privacy is its ultimate priority is surprisingly not budging to the government’s demands despite its year-over-year poor quarterly earnings.
We regret leaving this important market, but the government’s ultimatum left us no choice but to exit the country entirely,” explains BlackBerry.
Notably, BlackBerry earlier said that it’ll be shutting down operations in the country by the end of this month. However, the company has now been notified by the Pakistani government to extend its shutdown order from November 30 to December 30. The Canadian manufacturer has duly accepted the extended notice period and will be delaying its exit till the end of the year.
While BlackBerry further said that they have always been willing to cooperate with the local law enforcement agencies to aid in criminal investigations. Though the Pakistani government is demanding “unfettered access” to all of the company’s users running BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES).
“While we recognize the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our servers,” said Marty Beard, Chief Operating Officer at Blackberry.