IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING, BlackBerry would be open to letting governments into its hardware and all over its encryption, in a way, and if it was asked nicely.
BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard made the firm's susceptibility clear at the FedTalks government IT summit when he opened his mouth and let the statements fall out, according to a report on news site Fedscoop.
We were not present, but we have asked BlackBerry to confirm the contents of the talk, and if possible provide a copy. The firm did tell us that it does not currently provide backdoor access and directed us to a page in which it describes its current methods of providing government satisfaction.
Back at FedTalks, and things are not quite so black and white. The Fedscoop report said that BlackBerry is very open to the idea of providing access, just as long as those requests meet certain conditions.
"We very much take a balanced approach to the issue of encryption," he said, adding that the firm takes a different view to its competitors which are "all about encryption all the way."
BlackBerry has just launched a privacy-first handset called the Priv, while beyond its walls a battle rages over the right to privacy and the will to protect citizen data.
Beard may come to regret his words. The other camp carries some Jimmy Wales weight, and includes new entries to the market that BlackBerry has struggled to learn from, including Apple.
Tim Cook banged the freedom drum earlier this month and clamoured for the right to encrypt and protect privacy. Cook was talking about the surveillance laws that the government is currently stewing over when he called for some balance.
"To protect people who use any products, you have to encrypt. You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on. These things are becoming more frequent. They can not only result in privacy breaches but in security issues. We believe very strongly in end-to-end encryption and no backdoors," he said.
"We don't think people want us to read their messages. We don't feel we have the right to read their emails. Any backdoor is a backdoor for everyone. Everybody wants to crack down on terrorists. Everybody wants to be secure. The question is how? Opening a backdoor can have very dire consequences."
There may be more to come from BlackBerry depending on how it receives the response to the comment. The firm, which once dominated pockets, is low on fans now, although it does retain Kardashian support.
There was more to come. BlackBerry has since responded with some clarifying information suggesting that the firm is just like the others after all.
"Encryption is very important to protect governments, businesses and individuals from hacking. That's why so many world leaders and CEOs rely on BlackBerry to protect their data. At the same time, no one wants to see terrorists and criminals taking advantage of encryption to evade detection," the firm said in a statement.
"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." µ
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