BlackBerry exits Pakistan amid demands for backdoor access

The folks at BlackBerry have announced that they're leaving Pakistan as soon as possible. Apparently the government in said country isn't too keen about BlackBerry keeping their cellular information to themselves, and want full, unfettered access to the information about and within BlackBerry's BES e-mail and BES BBM messaging systems – all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic. BlackBerry will be doing nothing of the sort. They won't hand over access to the systems to the Pakistani government, so they'll be leaving the country very, very soon.

It's a bummer for the customers that BlackBerry has inside the country, but a necessary move nonetheless. BlackBerry wont bow down, in this case, to the government that will otherwise begin accessing user information through a backdoor access point. BlackBerry isn't all about that.

Over at the BlackBerry Blog, the official one, BlackBerry suggests that because they've denied access to the government, they've been given a shutdown order. The initial order was set for November 30th, but has been extended to December 30th instead – that's 2015 in both cases.

According to CEO of BlackBerry, Marty Beard, "In July, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority notified the country's mobile phone operators that BlackBerry's BES servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country starting in December 'for security reasons.'"

Beard went on, "The truth is that the Pakistani government wanted the ability to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every BES e-mail and BES BBM message. But BlackBerry will not comply with that sort of directive. As we have said many times, we do not support 'back doors' granting open access to our customers' information and have never done this anywhere in the world."

Be sure to peruse the list of absurdities in the timeline below. Pakistan really believes they're going to be able to filter the entire internet. Bad luck to them!