Pakistan kisses Blackberry Goodbye

Pakistan kisses Blackberry Goodbye

Blackberry was given an extension by the Pakistani government to leave the country by December 30, 2015. The reason why the government ordered Blackberry to shut down its enterprise service is said to be over security reasons. 

The Pakistani Telecommunications Authority announced in July of this year that the Blackberry BES service will no longer be allowed to operate in the Pakistan. A spokesperson announced, "PTA has issued directions to local mobile phone operators to close BlackBerry Enterprise Services on Nov. 30, 2015 for security reasons.”

The “issue” here is that Blackberry uses encryption to better protect the privacy of its users. This made the Blackberry BES email and BES BBM message a treasure for it users but a headache for law enforcers who were not able to intercept communications for the sake of investigation. This motivated the authorities to ban the service in the country.

A Privacy International (PI) report that the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the Pakistan’s military intelligence agency is looking for better ways to being able to intercept phone calls stating, "Pakistan's intelligence agencies have abused their communications surveillance powers, including by spying on opposition politicians and Supreme Court judges. Widespread Internet monitoring and censorship has also been used to target journalists, lawyers and activists."
 

In a blog post on Blackberry’s page dated Nov. 30, they mention the issue and explain the reasons why they are being forced to shut down operations in Pakistan. It claims that the Pakistani government is seeking the ability to monitor BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in its entirety. This would include all BES e-mails and BES BBM messages. However, BlackBerry is not on board with that measure. 

The government did not request the complete shutdown of all BB services, only the ones mentioned.  However, the company decided to leave the country altogether. 

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