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Blackberry Cellphones Communications Encryption Government Handhelds Privacy

BlackBerry Will Continue Operations In Pakistan (fortune.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes: At the end of November, BlackBerry announced it would pull its operations out of Pakistan after the country's government demanded access to BlackBerry's user data. The Pakistan government has now dropped that request, and BlackBerry will continue operating there as a result. In a statement, BlackBerry COO Marty Beard said, "We are grateful to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistani government for accepting BlackBerry's position that we cannot provide the content of our customers' BES traffic, nor will we provide access to our BES servers."
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BlackBerry Will Continue Operations In Pakistan

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  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday January 02, 2016 @06:51PM (#51228449)

    So they won't give to Pakistan what they gave to India [theguardian.com], eh? It'd be curious to see where they decided to draw that line, in terms of dollars earned per country.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Saturday January 02, 2016 @07:13PM (#51228525)

      Very old article, not even true, and refuted by Blackberry.

      http://in.reuters.com/article/... [reuters.com]

      "RIM is providing an appropriate lawful access solution that enables India's telecom operators to be legally compliant with respect to their BlackBerry consumer traffic, to the same degree as other smartphone providers in India, but this does not extend to secure BlackBerry enterprise communications"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Blackberrys stance on encryption is well known (this is from November THIS year). They say one thing to customers, and a different thing to Federal agencies:


        "BlackBerry’s philosophy about encryption and law enforcement requests is to take a “balanced approach,” according to chief operating officer Marty Beard."

        "Encryption is very important to protect governments, business and individuals from hacking. That’s why so many

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the interest of accuracy ...

      Your link is 5 years old. A more recent link (2013) indicates that Blackberry have allowed access to BBM and BIS, but NOT BES enterprise.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/11/blackberry_gives_indian_spooks_access/ [theregister.co.uk]

      In short, India and Pakistan have been given exactly the same deal.

      • They can't give physical access to the clients' BES servers but that doesn't mean they haven't given them a key to unlock intercepted encrypted traffic. If they are okay with giving access to their less paying patrons, why draw the line there?

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          They can't give physical access to the clients' BES servers but that doesn't mean they haven't given them a key to unlock intercepted encrypted traffic. If they are okay with giving access to their less paying patrons, why draw the line there?

          You have to realize how BlackBerries work.

          First, when they're attached to a BES server, the BES server and Blackberry exchange keys. That key is used for all traffic - the BlackBerry itself encrypts traffic using the BES server key, forwards it to the Blackberry networ

          • by guruevi ( 827432 )

            I understand how BES works, the issue is that it isn't entirely unfeasible that Blackberry (the entity) doesn't have a master key that could access the data-in-stream to each of it's BES servers. The BES servers are a closed environment, a black box really, we really don't know. What we do know is that by default Blackberry DOES have a global pin which is enabled by default AND that your mobile carrier (could) know your PIN as well.

            The BlackBerry device scrambles PIN messages using the PIN encryption key. B

    • As in, Gentlemen, start your SPINengines

      But if it's not spin, at least we know where smarter heads prevailed. Their leaders knew it was a slippery slope to begin with: we have access. Can the other player/terrorist/competing regime/other country gain that same access, with enough dollars or gold to throw at that server?

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      So they won't give to Pakistan what they gave to India, eh?

      According to the article you posted and this slashdot article, they did give to Pakistan what they gave to India - which was absolutely nothing.

      Didn't you read either one of them?

  • I heard BlackBerry had been in quite a jam due to a thorny situation, their operations in Pakistan were about to become toast.

  • A long time ago I worked for a carrier. One day someone from Blackberry corporate was there. He had a demo device of their yet to be released all touch screen smart phone. I really kind of liked it. No one said it to his face, but by then we already all knew that it was too late. Then again, I am sure he did too. This would have been a perfect time for Microsoft to buy them just for their technology. Its's too late now though, they are knee deep in the platform they are currently offering.
    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      Well damn. I hate to reply to myself but this prompted me to take a look at what they are currently trying to do. I had no idea that they had gone Android. That is a crowded market but perhaps it will be enough. Time will tell.
    • Their selling point was always encryption but then they sold out their customers to the US government and later other governments as well and all trust in their platform was lost. That and the fact that their functionality is easily replicated by going full SSL and remotely revoked full device encryption (which the iPhone did early on).

      • by tmjva ( 226065 )

        Why even bother with such requests nowadays. It should just be easier to hack. Or is it smaller governments lack the budget? Or for a small fee they should get a data feed from NSA!

  • I'm not sure if Pakistan can actually be trusted. Wouldn't be surprised if they just hack into Blackberrys' servers instead now.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]