BlackBerry prepares to leave Pakistani market over user privacy concerns

BlackBerry finds itself in a precarious place right now, still feeling out market reaction to the introduction of its first Android-based handset, and attempting to gauge the impact that move stands to have on the company’s sales going forward. While normally a company in its position would do all it could to expose itself to as many potential users as possible, today we get word that BlackBerry’s stopping operations in one market altogether, as the firm informs users that it’s about shut things down in Pakistan.

The root of the problem is surveillance, and BlackBerry’s unwillingness to hand the government of Pakistan unfettered access to all BES communications headed through its borders.

BlackBerry’s butted heads with multiple countries over demands for BES access in years past, and though it’s been able to work out deals with some, the sticking point here seems to be the breadth of access Pakistan was after – rather than a system that would allow BlackBerry to grant the government access in cases of specifically tailored warrants, the nation wanted a blanket pass to monitor everything – one concession BlackBerry was unwilling to make.

As a result, BlackBerry’s closing up shop in Pakistan. Originally planning to shut down at the end of the month, we now hear that it’s been able to push things back to December 30, instead.

Are you more willing to trust BlackBerry with your data now that you hear about the lengths it’s willing to go to in order to keep your communications private – even if that means missing out on sales?

Source: BlackBerry

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!