Cops and spies alike are up in arms lately over companies like Apple using uncrackable encryption on their devices. But BlackBerry, whose clickity keyboards can still be heard in the halls of many government bureaucracies, doesn’t think criminals deserve privacy.
The struggling Canadian company’s CEO recently published a blog post with the bold headline, “The Encryption Debate: a Way Forward.” John Chen really has a way with words, too. Emphasis his:
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.
So let’s unpack that a little bit. Privacy is important to everyone, but privacy should not be given to criminals. In order to prove that someone is a criminal, a law enforcement agency might have to violate a person’s privacy in order to collect evidence. But the person is probably a criminal who didn’t deserve privacy in the first place.
That seems like some really weird logic. As you read down the BlackBerry chief’s post, it also starts to seem a little bit hypocritical, as well. Consider this:
However, it is also true that corporations must reject attempts by federal agencies to overstep. BlackBerry has refused to place backdoors in its devices and software. We have never allowed government access to our servers and never will. We have made decisions to exit national markets when the jurisdictional authorities demand access that would abuse the privacy of law-abiding citizens.
Chen adds that he and his BlackBerry employees “reject any notion of banning or disabling encryption”. The blog post inevitably turns into a plug for some dumb BlackBerry messaging service called Telegram with a humblebrag about how the company helps catch criminals. Really, though, the whole diatribe amounts to a great advertisement for Apple and its famous commitment to protecting its users privacy, regardless of who’s trying to snoop.