BlackBerry through its official blog has announced that it will no longer operate in Pakistan after Nov. 30 over demands from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to have backdoor access to BlackBerry's encrypted services. Remaining in Pakistan would mean that the company would have to forfeit its commitment to protect the privacy of its loyal users' privacy, and it is a compromise that the company is not willing to make.
Back in July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority notified the country's mobile phone operators that BlackBerry's BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Servers) would no longer be allowed to provide its service in the country starting this December for security reasons. In truth, however, the Pakistani government wanted to be granted backdoor access to monitor all of BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in Pakistan, including emails and BBM messages.
Of course, BlackBerry's long-standing reputation in privacy and promise of security won't be complying with that sort of directive. As the company has stated many times, it does not support backdoors that would grant open access to the company's information, and the company has never done such anywhere in the world.
According to BlackBerry, the country's demand was not of public safety but was for acquiring unfettered access to all of the company's BES customers' information. "BlackBerry provides the world's most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers. Protecting that security is paramount to our mission. While we recognize the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers," BlackBerry said in July when rumors about the country's decision started to surface.
BlackBerry will keep its focus on protecting corporate, government and military communications across the globe, and it will do so as well in South Asia and the Middle East. While The Pakistani government's demand only involved the company's BES servers, BlackBerry had decided to exit the market altogether.
The Pakistani government has also notified BlackBerry that the shutdown order has been extended from Nov. 30 to Dec. 30.