BlackBerry to stay as Pakistan drops surveillance demands

BlackBerry Ltd. is to continue its operations in Pakistan after the government backed down on demands for access to information from its BES servers.

Waterloo, Ont.-based company was to be shut out of Pakistan as of Dec. 31

BlackBerry is to remain in Pakistan after the government dropped demands for access to its BES servers. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

BlackBerry Ltd. is to continue its operations in Pakistan after the government backed down on demands for access to information from its BES servers.

BlackBerry had notified Pakistani customers that it would be shut down in the country on Dec. 31, after it would not comply with a directive from the Pakistan Telecom Authority to hand over information.

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, BlackBerry said in a notice in October.

BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard says the Pakistan government rescinded its shutdown order after "productive discussions."

"We look forward to serving the Pakistani market for years to come, including introducing new products and services, and thank our valued customers in Pakistan for their patience and loyalty," Beard said in a blog post today.

BlackBerry is known for its secure servers, which do not have a "back door" which makes it easy for government agencies to monitor communications.

Maintaining that secure reputation is a key to BlackBerry's business plan.

"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," Beard said in an October blog post.

There are also reports today that the Waterloo, Ont.-based company is increasing its grip on the U.S. market.

Right now AT&T is the only wireless carrier to sell the BlackBerry Priv. Trade publication Phone Arena is reporting that T-Mobile will begin offering the Priv in January.

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