Blackberry banned in Pakistan

Pakistan has decided to ban Blackberry’s enterprise servers and its internet and messaging service, the media reported on Monday.

Telecom operators in the country have been instructed by the Pakistan telecommunication authority (PTA) to shut down Blackberry services by December.

“PTA has issued directions to local mobile phone operators to close BlackBerry Enterprise Services from Nov. 30 on security reasons,” said a PTA spokesperson for The Guardian.

Blackberry uses strong encryption on its devices and is one of the main selling points of the company, especially after the Snowden revelations. All communications go through the company’s servers, including email, messaging, browsing and other communication services.

This strong encryption prevents law enforcement and intelligence agencies from intercepting messages and snooping on user activity.

This is not the first time Pakistan has worked on expanding its ability to intercept communications. Back in 2011, the country banned encryption software. A legal notice sent to all internet providers (ISPs) by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority ordered the ISPs to inform authorities if any of their customers are using virtual private networks (VPNs) to browse the web.

Virtual private networks allow internet users to connect to the web undetected, meaning that they can access banned websites and send emails without fear of government interception.

BlackBerry has faced similar problems in the past in India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

“BlackBerry provides the world’s most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers,” the company said. “Protecting that security is paramount to our mission. While we recognise the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”