BlackBerry is seeing tough competition not only in the handset business but in security and privacy as well. Rivals Apple and Google are making sincere efforts to tackle encryption and transparency concerns in recent years, but BlackBerry says it has “no plans” of tackling them, says a report from ZDNet.
Lagging in transparency
Following the Snowden saga, every U.S. cell carrier publishes a transparency report detailing the number of government data demands it received. However, a spokesperson from BlackBerry confirmed that the company has no plan to release transparency reports in the near future.
BlackBerry is an outlier in the current mobile marketplace and is not considering modernizing its corporate mantra despite the fact that it was revered as an encrypted email service provider once. According to comScore, BlackBerry’s share of the U.S. mobile market has come down from 13.4% three years ago to 1.2% at present.
Earlier this week, the Canadian firm’s chief operating officer, Marty Beard, said the company believes in taking a “balanced approach” to encryption and not in the “all about encryption all the way” approach that many companies adopt. It is thought that he was referring to Apple and Google. Beard’s comments do suggest that the company offers a backdoor for law enforcement purposes.
BlackBerry has no so-called “backdoor”
However, a BlackBerry spokesperson denied having a backdoor. Encryption plays a very important role in the protection of governments, businesses and individuals from hacking, and for this reason, many world leaders and company CEOs rely on BlackBerry for their data protection, the spokesperson said. In addition, everyone wants to keep terrorists and criminals away from taking advantage of encryption.
“That’s why we have always strongly supported law enforcement around the world when they need our help. While we do not support so-called ‘backdoors,’ we and every other tech company bears a responsibility to do all we can to help governments protect their citizens,” the spokesperson said.
Privacy advocates and technologists argue that it does not matter whether it is a “backdoor” or a “frontdoor,” but if a hole exists in encryption, then both privacy and security are at risk. BlackBerry has indeed cooperated well with law enforcement agencies around the world for some time, but it emphasizes that it does not offer special deals to individual countries. The BBC reported in mid-2013 that BlackBerry had agreed to provide the Indian government a way to access the messages of its customers.