BlackBerry CEO “Disturbed” By Apple’s Encryption, User Privacy Efforts


We already know that BlackBerry and Apple have a different approach to security, but BlackBerry CEO couldn’t help it and called out Apple during the company’s Security Summit that kicked off yesterday in New York.

Apple commitment privacy

BlackBerry CEO John Chen called Apple’s approach to encryption and commitment to user privacy “disturbing”, as reported by the Inquirer.

“One of our competitors, we call it ‘the other fruit company’, has an attitude that it doesn’t matter how much it might hurt society, they’re not going to help,” he said.

“I found that disturbing as a citizen. I think BlackBerry, like any company, should have a basic civil responsibility. If the world is in danger, we should be able to help out.”

The comment comes from the CEO of a company that says they “did the right thing” when they gave BBM access to the Canadian police. This actually means the cops were able to intercept more than 1 million BBM messages, by having access to the “global encryption key” used by BlackBerry to encrypt BBM messages. This key is loaded into every handset during manufacturing.

Apple has been collaborating with law enforcement agencies, but it did say no when the FBI wanted to force the company to create a software that would create a backdoor to iOS.


  • DoctorT

    …and now they’ve prevented me from ever becoming a BB customer (for whatever reason that’d be).

  • I am more disturbed by this haunting voice from a company that was actually relevant a decade ago presuming to have any sort of weight in the modern world of technology.

  • Why would you become one? They have midline Android phones at flagship prices, and even bungle the hardware keyboard (making it too small to type easily on).

  • DoctorT

    Well, I mean if on the odd chance they suddenly release a properly good phone – this is just another reason not to go with BB.

  • kkritsilas

    Mr. Chen needs to get his head screwed on straight. People (you know, the ones that are buying millions of iPhones each month, vs. next to no Blackberries) want their data private. This is why What’s App, Facebook Messenger, and soon I am sure, others offer end to end encryption. Point is, Blackberry should not have two faced their representation of BBM as being secure to customers, and then used their master key to hand data over to LE without a court order. BB did wrong. Mr. Chen can dress this up any way he wants, point is, BB is not to be trusted, not now, and as has now been proven, not ever. As for his social responsibility angle, this remains to be seen; much like most CEOs, he thinks he is in a position to judge whether the world is in danger, and that he can help save it. He isn’t; and while a court ordered unlocking of a phone may have some validity (again, I don’t think this has been completely established), he misses the biggest picture, which is the basic freedom of having some of your things private. While it may help in some cases, just random turnover of people’s information without a court order isn’t being socially responsible, it is betrayal of customer trust.

    Mr. Chen, please feel free to do as you please, just understand that people are now far more concerned about their privacy than they once were, and you will be on the wrong end. Either way, this is mostly academic, because BB doesn’t have long to exist.

  • They are killing themselves with bad decisions. They have been for years. I doubt that pattern will change.

  • xeronine992

    Honestly I thought BlackBerries (and BBM for that matter) were touted as “secure”.. I honestly thought they already had end-to-end encryption, unless they do and BlackBerry holds the keys if they so choose to intercept. Either way, glad I ditched my Bold many many years ago.

  • Quattro

    Oh look, BlackBerry has a short-sighted CEO. Shocker.

  • Anthony ?

    More idiotic blather from the leader of a company who have become utterly irrelevant over the past few years, in an attempt to get tech sites to pay attention to their conference.

    Guess it worked…

  • Diop

    Never listen to John Chen,he is the CEO who single-handedly brought blackberry hardware to the ground and is moving it into a software business. No respect for its customers, I can wait till the day he’s gone. Don’t invest your money on their new devices unless it’s affordable or you’ll get playbooked