BlackBerry has always been known for the utmost security and privacy features it offers, and for this reason, none of the company’s devices has ever been hacked (at least not publicly). But do not expect CEO John Chen to boast about it when rival firm Apple is going through security breaches that have caused a lot of embarrassment for it.
Chen refuses to celebrate rivals’ failures
The most recent example of a security failure at Apple is that of a third party helping the FBI hack the iPhone 5C recovered from one of the shooters in the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. in which 14 people were killed and 22 others were injured.
Despite court orders, Apple and CEO Tim Cook refused to help the FBI, claiming the request was a huge breach of privacy. Prior to this incident, in an iCloud hack, pictures of nude celebrities were posted on the Internet, causing embarrassment for the victims.
Chen said, “You never want to drive your marketing message built on a disaster. I think that’s not classy enough, in my opinion.”
BlackBerry’s CEO said he received calls from a lot of people about it, but he chose to stay out of the limelight on this issue from day 1. Chen said these events have given rise to discussions but noted that the issue is not a technical one but rather one of public policy.
“It is an issue of where does national security demands begin and end?” Chen said. “And how does that interact with the privacy of citizens and technology and encryption?”
BlackBerry will stick to its policy
The standoff between Cook and the FBI made headlines all over the world. Police killed both shooters, and the iPhone it recovered was intact but locked with a four-digit password. The FBI believed that the device could contain crucial information about the terrorists, but it needed the password to unlock it. One day before a federal court ruling to hear the FBI and Apple case, the agency revealed that a third party hacked into the phone, and this was embarrassing for Apple.
Chen said it is complicated and that whenever his company will be served with a court-issued warrant, it will follow its policy of helping law enforcement and security services hack into its smartphones.
Chen said they have a different attitude towards encryption, and assured, “It won’t be front-page news, let’s put it this way. So far, nobody has hacked into our phones yet, so far, including the Priv. We don’t have a back door,” Chen added.