BlackBerry to exit Pakistan over demand for access to its servers

BlackBerry Ltd. says it's delaying a plan to stop operating in Pakistan, but remains committed to closing up shop in that country rather than accept authorities' demand for "unfettered" access to all customer information on its BES servers.

Government wants access to customer information on BlackBerry Enterprise Service

BlackBerry says it's willing to work with Pakistani authorities to protect public safety, but won't allow wholesale access to its servers. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

BlackBerry Ltd. says it's delaying a plan to stop operating in Pakistan, but remains committed to closing up shop in that country rather than accept authorities' demand for "unfettered" access to all customer information on its BES servers.

The Canadian smartphone company says in a blog post that it will continue to operate in Pakistan until Dec. 30 as a result of a one-month extension to a compliance order issued by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority in July.

BlackBerry had said previously it would pull out of Pakistan rather than comply with a demand for full access to content on its BlackBerry Enterprise Service by Nov. 30.

The company says the Pakistani government wants the ability to monitor all traffic on in the country, including every BES e-mail and BES BBM message.

It says it's willing to work with Pakistani authorities to protect public safety, but the privacy of its customers is paramount to BlackBerry and it won't compromise.

BlackBerry operations chief Marty Beard says in a blog post that the company recognizes the need to co-operate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, but it has never permitted wholesale access to BlackBerry servers.

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