BlackBerry CEO Slams Apple’s Approach to User Privacy


1 john chen agm 001

In a new blog post titled “The Encryption Debate: a Way Forward”, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has slammed Apple’s approach towards the privacy of users, saying that the greater good should not be above its reputation. For years, government officials have pleaded to the technology industry for help,” he wrote. “Yet [the requests] have been met with disdain.” Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said that the company will almost never comply with government agencies when it does not have to.

Mr. Chen however, does not seem to agree with Cook:

“At BlackBerry, we understand, arguably more than any other large tech company, the importance of our privacy commitment to product success and brand value: privacy and security form the crux of everything we do. However, our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals.”

“One of the world’s most powerful tech companies [Apple] recently refused a lawful access request in an investigation of a known drug dealer because doing so would ‘substantially tarnish the brand‘, of the company”.

He continued that BlackBerry is in a unique position to help bring the two sides of this debate together, to find common ground and a way forward. “We reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests”, he added.

You can read all Mr. Chen has to say at the source link, and share your thoughts with us in the comments section.


  • Nick

    They can keep their opinions to themselves. It’s not like they know what it’s even like to have customer data to protect anyway.

  • KEN

    John is trying to make noise for BlackBerry. Like “Hey, remember when everyone wanted to use BBM?”

  • erth

    what is blackberry and who is mr. chen?

  • BigCat

    Can you believe this guy. Actually you can’t. The following is a quote from a BlackBerry Blog:

    “After November 30, BlackBerry will no longer operate in Pakistan. While we regret leaving this important market and our valued customers there, remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users’ privacy. That is a compromise we are not willing to make.”

    Terrorists and drug dealers in the middle east have been using BBM messaging for years, since their communications cannot be monitored.

  • johnnygoodface

    Black what???

  • Nuser

    When he mentioned “does not extend to criminals”, is he planning to decide who is or not. Does he trust the government to tell him this information.

  • aaloo

    wow. didn’t this guy supposedly pull blackberry out of Pakistan so that they wouldn’t have to comply with government’s requests for handing over data. So you are ok with handing over user data to people of your choosing and not to others.

  • artikas

    you should try it. it’s yummy

  • Z S

    All the more reason to let Blackberry fade away. You can’t trust someone with a backdoor key.

  • kkritsilas

    It is always a good idea to oppose Apple’s direction on tech matters. I mean, seriously, Apple only has a market cap of $700B or so, so they are clearly misguided, and don’t look after their customers interests (including privacy and security) very well.

    In contrast, RIM, now Blackberry, are doing just wonderfully, declaring a slight loss this quarter, and being so forthright about sales of the Priv handset and all.

    Chen, get a clue. Stop flapping your gums aimlessly. Law Enforcement is getting lazy and don’t want to do their work. Consider that if back doors are required, or encryption is outlawed, that the “criminals/Terrorists” will use encryption anyway, they are criminals anyway, so what is the big deal for them? Law abiding citizens won’t, but in the end, how is LE further ahead? They can look at the data of law abiding citizens, but not the data of criminals using “illegal” encryption.

    Bottom line on all of this? You can’t make math illegal (even if the criminals would abide by it), and encryption is basicaly math.

  • BigCat

    Some more context to BBM in Pakistan: According to the Pakistani Government terror groups were coordinating attacks through the use of BBM communications. The Pakistani Government told BlackBerry to provide a backdoor or they would shutdown their servers. BlackBerry said no, and that’s when the lights went out.

    I personally do not believe in Government monitoring unless is done through the Courts with full disclosure. It’s just so ironic this guy would point the finger at Apple based on the position BlackBerry took in Pakistan.

  • definingsound

    “The privacy of our customers is paramount to BlackBerry, and we will not compromise that principle.” -Marty Beard, BB COO

    “We reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests.” -John Chen, BB CEO

    “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” -Matthew 6:3