BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has confirmed that it will no longer host its clients in Pakistan due to security reasons.
The company stated that it will terminate its server operations in Pakistan as of November 30, meaning customers will no longer have access to the firm’s services. The issues began in July when the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority threatened to stop Blackberry Enterprise Services for security reasons.
There was speculation that the issue revolved around the company’s encryption of BBM, email and other user services thus denying the authorities access to information deemed relevant for national security. Blackberry’s CEO, Marty Beard has revealed the truth of the matter through a blog post.
According to the post, the Pakistani government wanted the company to provide a back door that would allow it to monitor traffic through Blackberry Services. However, the company declined the request because it would be going against the company’s policy on user privacy. Mr. Beard further added that the company does not grant backdoor access, and it has never done so. The company’s decision to exit the Pakistani market is a clear indication that the firm does not plan to change its policy on back door access any time soon.
The CEO further added that the government’s request was not about public safety because the Pakistan government was requesting access to information belonging to all of the BES customers. Data privacy is important to Blackberry, and the company is more than willing to assist law enforcement agencies as long as it does not break its principles. Mr. Beard stated that the company decided to exit the Pakistani market because the demand by the Pakistani government for open access would be a tough blow to communications by users in the country.
The firm has also been experiencing pressure from other countries with requests for access to user information. Blackberry has not revealed the number of customers that it will lose from Pakistan. Nevertheless, the firm’s customer base has been declining even in the upcoming markets where it once thrived.