At the BlackBerry Security Summit, CEO Chen said that he's disturbed by Apple's Approach to Encryption
BlackBerry's Security Summit kicked off yesterday in New York. With the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain being unhappy with Apple's CEO for not attending a hearing on encryption last week, BlackBerry's CEO John Chen saw an opportunity to score some political points yesterday by saying that he was disturbed by Apple's tough approach to encryption and user privacy, warning that the firm's attitude is harmful to society.
Chen is on record stating that "We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good."
Chen was quizzed about his opinion on government requests for user data during BlackBerry's Security Summit in New York Q&A session. "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."
Chen added that "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."
This doesn't mean that BlackBerry is handing out your information willy nilly, though, and Chen pointed out that a lot of "nonsense" has been reported about the company and its approach to such situations.
What exactly BlackBerry is doing to cooperate with governments around the world, especially in the U.S., is unknown and that's the way BlackBerry intends to keep it. If it's about security, they'll keep it close to the vest. Noted below are a few quotes that Wireless Today recorded.
Chen's position on this matter is far from new. In December, BlackBerry's CEO weighed in on the encryption debate on the company's blog. Chen wrote:
"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. 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."