Blackberry Will Not Discontinue Operations in Pakistan

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The Canadian firm recently announced that it would continue to run operations in Pakistan.

According to a recent report, BlackBerry will not discontinue operations in Pakistan as it had pledged last month over increased pressure from the government to gain access to its servers.

On Dec. 31, BlackBerry’s COO announced that the company would not leave the country as the government recently had dropped its request. The announcement was made on the tech company’s official blog.

BlackBerry planned to leave the country after the state had ordered it to provide a governmental agency ‘unfettered’ access to its servers designed for business customers.

Pakistani government was interested in monitoring traffic that goes in and out of the state by having access to e-mail and IM content of BlackBerry Enterprise Servers’ users. The Canadian tech company had 30 days to comply with the request, and the deadline was set for Dec. 30.

BlackBerry explained that the data generated by e-mail and instant messaging communications is routed via servers that are outside the country and rejected the request. In the recent announcement, the company thanked Pakistani authorities for accepting its decision of not providing unhindered access to its BES servers.

The government also requested that the Ontario-based company creates back doors in the servers’ encryption for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, but the firm declined to do that also.

Nevertheless, leaving Pakistan would have been a tough choice because BlackBerry currently strives to grab a larger slice of the international market. The company has based its business model on pledges of enhanced security and privacy for its clients through specialized software and hardware ever since its debut.

Its Priv smartphone, which is focused on providing better privacy than other devices on the market, was recently rolled out and it is expected to be released in 31 countries by the end of next month.

Yet, it is not the first time BlackBerry is caught in crossfire with a foreign government. Several other states including Saudi Arabia and India had requested full access to users’ communications from the Canadian firm. And several other have threatened to ban the company for refusing to hand over the requested data.

Governments cited various reasons, but the most popular was counter-terrorism. For instance, India wanted access to user data to find the terrorists behind the 2008 attack in its capital city, which had resulted in more than 160 deaths.

Nevertheless, recently BlackBery said that it would grant access to its servers but under some conditions. The company said that it would provide access only to its users’ metadata such as phone location and call date, if authorities had a court order.
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