Ontario, Canada — BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ: BBRY) announced on Monday that they will stop operations in Pakistan. The decision was made after the Pakistan government asked the company to give it freed access to its secure BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES).
On July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority notified carriers that BES servers won’t be allowed to operate in the country alluding to security reasons, but the Canadian company said the authorities had another motive.
They claim the truth is that the Pakistani government wanted to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every BES e-mail and BlackBerry Messenger message.
Therefore, the smart phone manufacturer decided to shut down operations in the country altogether refusing to agree to the Pakistani government’s order to monitor BlackBerry Enterprise Services, including encrypted emails and BBM messages sent and received in the country.
“Pakistan’s demand was not a question of public safety; we are more than happy to assist law enforcement agencies in investigations of criminal activity, rather, Pakistan was essentially demanding unfettered access to all of our BES customers’ information.” Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard said on Monday.
Beard also said the company regretted leaving such an important market, and that BlackBerry’s focus would remain on protecting corporate, government and military communications through the world –including in South Asia and the Middle East.
BlackBerry will be leaving the country on December 30, which is the deadline lapse given by the government to stop operations. The move would affect approximately 5,000 companies who are BES customers in Pakistan.
This is not the first time a government has asked BlackBerry for access to its servers. Back on 2010, India also made a similar demand for real-time access to traffic going through BlackBerry’s enterprise and consumer servers.
In that opportunity, BlackBerry and the government reached to a negotiation. The company set up servers in India and reportedly provided the Indian government the ability to track in real-time, but just to certain consumer services such as emails and email attachments as well as whether messages sent over BlackBerry Messenger were delivered and read.