Pakistan plans to shut down BlackBerry's secure messaging services
BlackBerry's secure messaging services are a very strong argument for quite a few of those who choose to use the handsets made by the company formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM). Next to the multi-platform BlackBerry Messenger service, they are also known for keeping the physical QWERTY keyboard around while virtually all other major smartphone makers considered it a thing of the past.
If the latest rumors turn out to be true, it looks like BlackBerry users in Pakistan will soon no longer be able to take advantage of BlackBerry Messenger. ZDNet published a leaked memo from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) that says the following: "Due to serious concerns by the security agency, Mobilink, Ufone, and Telenor Pakistan are requested to offer 90 days notice as per the existing provisions to their BES customers for closing their BES connections, and ensure that all BES connections of their customers must be closed by or before November 30 without fail."
The authenticity of the memo above, which is dated July 22, cannot be verified at this time, but Reuters also confirmed the news. While most of the few thousand BES customers in Pakistan are government or foreign embassy officials, as well as business users, the authorities are concerned that criminal organizations may use the encrypted service as well.
In the past, BlackBerry's encrypted messaging service has been shut down or temporarily disrupted in India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Both BlackBerry and the Pakistani carriers involved in the upcoming ban declined to comment for now.