In the latest move regarding the security concerns, the telecom department PTA has contacted the cellular operators of Pakistan via notification to shut down BlackBerry Enterprise Server ( BES) before December 1, 2015.
The letter received by the operators states that:
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.
BES is company’s well-secured service that encrypts data such as emails and BlackBerry Messenger messages sent between a user’s phone and public networks to enhance user’s privacy level.
Usually these services are preferred by the corporate sector and foreign mission for email sharing an access the internet through a dedicated server that is isolated from the whole world, averting them from scrutiny by police and intelligence agencies.
According to an estimation, “there are nearly 4,000 to 7,000 BES customers in Pakistan who will be affected by this decision of PTA however, the authority is of the view that it is providing enough time to the consumers so that they can convert their communication mechanism to other services”.
According to a spokesperson of PTA, Mr. Khurram Mehran,
the decision to block the BES has been taken on the directives of the Interior Ministry due to security reasons as Blackberry Enterprise Server is hard to be tracked or decoded.
It is positive impact for Pakistan that it is listed one of the countries who has banned the BlackBerry Enterprise Servers as the Company had similar problems in past India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
However, this ban will not affect the BlackBerry’s Internet Services (BIS) in the country and hence Blackberry users in the country will be able to continue using internet, voice and SMS services on their phones.
On the other hand, the operators don’t have any affect by this decision of PTA as a large number of public has switched to smartphones from Blackberry phones.