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BlackBerry CEO John Chen has taken Apple to task on its approach to user privacy.

BlackBerry is famous for taking user privacy and security very seriously.

In fact, Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard recently announced that the company would be pulling out of Pakistan as from the 30th December due to security concerns. The company claims the Pakistani authorities wanted blanket access to customers’ information, including the ability to monitor every e-mail and BBM message in the country. This, said Beard, was unacceptable.

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But now, BlackBerry may have taken things up a further notch, as the company’s CEO John Chen took Apple to task over its approach to user privacy.

BlackBerry vs Apple?

It’s not surprising that BlackBerry’s CEO would be outspoken on security issues. What’s surprising, however, are the comments Chen made.

In fact, Chen’s issue is not that Apple doesn’t take user privacy seriously enough, but that it takes it too seriously. Said Chen:

For years, government officials have pleaded to the technology industry for help yet have been met with disdain. In fact, one of the world’s most powerful tech companies 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. We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good.

Chen’s comments seem to have been made in response to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s stance that Apple will almost never comply with government agencies unless it has to.

BlackBerry

Of course, Apple has had to step up its security and privacy efforts considerably after the 2014 iCloud leaks, and Cook’s stance should be read with that in mind.

BlackBerry, on the other hand, has always enjoyed a reputation for top notch security, and doesn’t need to take such an uncompromising stance. Chen continued:

We reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests

Nonetheless, Chen’s comments are bound to ruffle some feathers.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Is BlackBerry’s stance reasonable, or does it risk damaging its reputation for security and privacy with users?
Sound off in the comments below.