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BlackBerry ditches Pakistan over surveillance row

BlackBerry has announced in a blog post that it will pull out of Pakistan by the end of the year, citing "security reasons" after the Pakistani government requested a "back door" into its internet services.

This would have include BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) but, rather than bowing to pressure, the company stuck to its guns and has removed itself from the country which boasts a population of 180 million.

BlackBerry COO Marty Beard said: "We do not support 'back doors' granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world."

"Pakistan’s demand was not a question of public safety; we are more than happy to assist law enforcement agencies in investigations of criminal activity. Rather, Pakistan was essentially demanding unfettered access to all of our ... customers' information."

Security has long been a distinguishing factor of the company's phones and obviously these demands of the Pakistani government were a step too far, despite the country being an "important market."

Beard continued: "The privacy of our customers is paramount to BlackBerry, and we will not compromise that principle."