Whatever brownie points BlackBerry earned for choosing to exit the Pakistani handset market rather than put backdoors in its encryption for the government were lost this morning when CEO John Chen actually chastised Apple for respecting user privacy. The way he sees it, companies should only respect the privacy of non-criminals, and any alleged criminals that use their products or services should be turned in to the government, something that Apple refuses to do.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has taken Apple’s approach to the privacy of users to task in a blog post. “For years, government officials have pleaded to the technology industry for help,” he wrote. “Yet [the requests] have been met with disdain.” Apple CEO Tim Cook has said over and over that the company’s approach to privacy is fundamental: The company will almost never comply with government agencies when it does not have to. Chen does not agree Apple should take that stance. “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,'” he wrote, linking to an article by Ars Technica that is about Apple. “We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good.”