Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blasted BlackBerry for privacy policies that he said will erase it from history. The Canadian company has been painting itself as offering the height of security for some time, but Snowden accuses it of being too open with government agencies.
BlackBerry is too much like AT&T, says Snowden
The well-known whistleblower, who is still in Russia where he has been granted an extension to his asylum, accused BlackBerry of following an “AT&T model.” In other words, he feels that rather than seeing people as its true customers, BlackBerry treats government agencies like they are its real customers. He made the comments on a video call with organizers of the Cantech 2017 Investment Conference in Toronto.
Snowden accused BlackBerry of building backdoors into its Messenger, which it markets as being heavily encrypted and secure. He claimed that the company grants governments access to its customers’ messages whenever they want. He even accused BlackBerry of working with the governments of India, the U.S. and Canada, handing over data on users when it receives requests.
Although he believes the Canadian company is careful about how it does this in the West, he claimed that Indian regulators secured its help only by threatening to cut its access to the market. The company has been accused previously of giving Canadian officials its universal decryption key for BlackBerry Messenger so they could open more than a million messages at will.
The former NSA contractor summed up his harsh words by saying that BlackBerry will “be erased from the pages of history” because of how lax it is with customers’ privacy and how closely it works with the world’s governments.
Edward Snowden praises Apple
Snowden had high praise for Apple, which he said should be a model for all other tech companies in terms of how they should treat customers’ privacy. Notably, the iPhone maker refused to help U.S. law enforcement agencies unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists who killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others after opening fire. Authorities killed both of the two suspects in a shootout after they fled in a rented SUV.
Apple’s refusal to help officials unlock the iPhone triggered widespread controversy over privacy versus public safety. There were also debates over the question of protecting someone who is not only deceased but also identified as being one of the two people responsible for the deadly mass shooting. BlackBerry stated that criminals “don’t deserve privacy” following the incident, but Apple refused to budget. Law enforcement later used a third-party contractor to crack the iPhone.