After the deadline of 30th of December has passed, concerning a conflict regarding user data surveillance imposed by Islamabad, Blackberry announced that its services will continue in Pakistan. Said conflict arose back July 2015, when the government asked the company to give access to its encrypted user data due to security concerns.
If a resolution would not have been reached by the 30th of December, the company would have been forcefully prompted to leave the country completely. Fortunately, this was not the case, because the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistan government accepted Blackberry’s stance of not releasing personal encrypted information. This will allow the company to continue its endeavors in one of the last countries that still have an attraction towards Blackberry devices.
The main part of the service that would have been released to the government was the BES, or Blackberry Enterprise Service, that handles email and messaging traffic between large companies, military personnel and governments. This service is the one with the highest degree of security and encryption currently offered by Blackberry.
BES has been targeted by the Indian government as well, back in 2011, asking for the same access towards its traffic and personal data just like the Pakistan government. But in that case, Blackberry was forced to partially give in if it hoped to remain in the country, allowing the government to surveil their Blackberry Messages service used by normal consumers.
But the company denied access to its BES service completely. But their stance will shift in the case of emergency situations when giving this access is given the utmost importance and urgency.This government movement towards breaking the right of privacy has been seen across the globe, not just in Pakistan and India, and not only towards the Blackberry company.
Countless conspiracy theories regarding the US NSA and other federal agencies’ surveillance of emails and telephone calls have been around for decades up to this point. In the US especially, the concept of sacrificing personal freedom and privacy in order to attain a higher degree of security has been discussed and tossed around for a couple of years.
Both sides of the argument, those condoning this practice and those against it, have brought up viable points in almost every aspect of the discussion, in most cases reaching a stalemate. This is most likely due to the fact that it only revolves around speculation instead of having hard evidence towards the government’s alleged surveillance of personal data.
In addition, this topic is also considered taboo to a certain extent, especially if the subject of terrorism is brought up in the discussion. But this side is not only viable when talking about the US. Several other countries that have been suffering from terrorist attacks and suicide bombings have also attained this fear.
Because Blackberry announced that its services will continue in Pakistan, users of their services can now rest easy. This also proves that the company respects their users’ privacy extensively, even under the threat of being banned from the country, effectively kicking them out.