Lawful Access, Corporate Citizenship and Doing What’s Right

Protecting customer privacy is a core BlackBerry principle

When it comes to doing the right thing in difficult situations, BlackBerry’s guiding principle has been to do what is right for the citizenry, within legal and ethical boundaries. We have long been clear in our stance that tech companies as good corporate citizens should comply with reasonable lawful access requests. I have stated before that we are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good.

This very belief was put to the test in an old case that recently resurfaced in the news, which speculated on and challenged BlackBerry’s corporate and ethical principles. In the end, the case resulted in a major criminal organization being dismantled. Regarding BlackBerry’s assistance, I can reaffirm that we stood by our lawful access principles. Furthermore, at no point was BlackBerry’s BES server involved. Our BES continues to be impenetrable – also without the ability for backdoor access – and is the most secure mobile platform for managing all mobile devices. That’s why we are the gold standard in government and enterprise-grade security.

For BlackBerry, there is a balance between doing what’s right, such as helping to apprehend criminals, and preventing government abuse of invading citizen’s privacy, including when we refused to give Pakistan access to our servers. We have been able to find this balance even as governments have pressured us to change our ethical grounds. Despite these pressures, our position has been unwavering and our actions are proof we commit to these principles.


For more about today’s IT security challenges and solutions, join us for our free Executive Panel: Security, Productivity, and the Cloud webcast April 27 at 11 a.m. EDT. You’ll gain key insight from David Kleidermacher, Chief Security Officer at BlackBerry, and John Hewie, National Security Officer at Microsoft Canada, on how to balance security with productivity, take more control over your data security and more. Reserve your place by registering today.

About John Chen

John Chen is Executive Chairman of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. A distinguished and proven leader in the technology industry, prior to joining BlackBerry, he served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. from 1997 for 15 years, where he developed and led the company’s re-invention from a mature, slower-growth technology company into a $1.5 billion-plus high-growth innovator. Under his direction, Sybase became the leading provider of enterprise mobility and mobile commerce solutions, achieving 55 consecutive quarters of profitability. John previously held a series of executive positions at Siemens Nixdorf, Pyramid Technology Corp., Unisys and Burroughs Corp, where he started his career as an engineer. He graduated from Brown University magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and holds a master's in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology. He is actively involved in international relations and has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations. John serves on the board of directors for The Walt Disney Company and Wells Fargo & Co. He is active in the not-for-profit community, and is also a trustee of Caltech, member of CFR, national trustee of The First Tee and Governor of the San Francisco Symphony.

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