ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Government has decided to shut-down the Black Berry’s secure messaging service, quoting “security concerns” as the reason for the decision. Accordingly, the Pakistan Tele-communications Ministry has issued a notice to the local operators to shut down the Black Berry services by November 30.
“The PTA has issued directives to the local mobile network operators to shutdown the Black Berry’s secure services on security grounds, from November 30”, an official from the Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority said.
Black Berry was not available to comment immediately over the issue.
A report released by the British based watch-dog, Privacy International said that the Pakistan’s powerful Intelligence agency, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) was seeking to expand it’s ability to intercept the communications and hence, was against the highly secure services that the Black Berry offers.
Black Berry encrypts all the messages and other mobile operations sent through it’s handsets giving the users a high level security. However, it also makes life difficult for the police and the ISI to intercept the messages.
Black Berry has earlier faced similar issues in other countries such as India, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
The Privacy International report said the ISI had few legal checks on their surveillance, the NDTV reports.
“Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have abused their communications surveillance powers, including by spying on opposition politicians and Supreme Court judges. Widespread Internet monitoring and censorship has also been used to target journalists, lawyers and activists,” the report said.