PTA Banned BlackBerry Enterprise Services Due to Security Reasons

Due to some security reasons, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) puts ban on BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) in Pakistan. This decision was made by the Ministry of Interior on Friday and issued directives to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to implement the decision from December 1, 2015.

PTA Banned BlackBerry Enterprise Services Due to Security Reasons

The decision, however, will not affect BlackBerry’s Internet Services (BIS) in the country, which would allow the BlackBerry’s customers to continue using internet on their phones in Pakistan.

PTA also sent letters to cellular operators directing the mobile phone companies to ensure that there is no BES connection active after November 30, 2015.

The letter received by the operators states that:

[pull_quote_center]“Due to serious concerns expressed by security agencies, Mobilink, Ufone and Telenor are requested to give their BES customers 90 days notice for closing their connections by or before Nov 30,2015”[/pull_quote_center]

Khurram Mehran, a spokesperson of PTA said:

[pull_quote_center]“The decision to block the BES was taken on the directives of the interior ministry due to security reasons,”[/pull_quote_center]

He added:

[pull_quote_center]“There was a challenge that the Blackberry email service could not be tracked or decoded, which leads to the security reasons. There are few users of this service whose number would not be more than 4,000 to 5,000 in Pakistan”.[/pull_quote_center]

BES is basically used to exchange private emails in an encrypted format preventing their inspection.  For BES, the company operates the server and usually has it sitting somewhere within the corporate network. All aspects of the BES server are controlled by IT department, and its likely sitting in a secure location within data Centre.

The move is taken due to the report by Privacy International which claims that security organizations in Pakistan sought to setup an electronic eavesdropping network along the lines of the National Security Agency. The country’s premier spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) recently told the Supreme Court that it was tapping over 6,000 phones as recent as May 2015.

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