Blackberry CEO John Chen denies backdoored product claims

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Blackberry CEO John Chen denies backdoored product claims
John Chen, Blackberry

Blackberry chief executive John Chen has denied that the company’s products have backdoors, responding to media reports relating to its acquisition of Cylance.

In a corporate blog post, Chen addressed possible confusion on Blackberry’s work with law enforcement and the company’s approach on lawful access.

“BlackBerry’s products do not have backdoors, because at the end of the day, what we sell is trust. Our customers, some of the most powerful organizations in the world, trust us to keep their data private and safe from bad actors, and that’s what we do,” Chen said.

“For us, there is a balance between doing what’s right, such as helping to apprehend criminals and preventing government abuse of citizen’s privacy. We have been able to find this balance even when pressured. Our position has been unwavering, and our actions are proof we commit to these principles.”

Chen added that while the company reviews lawful access requests, it does not mean, in any way, that BlackBerry has backdoors. “Anyone who says so is wrong,” he said.

Last week, Blackberry acquired machine-learning security specialist Cylance for US$1.4 billion.

Cylance uses machine learning to preempt security breaches before they occur. Its applications seek to block malware or infiltration attempts rather than react after a breach.

The company will continue to operate as a separate business unit after the deal closes, which is expected to be around February 2019.

“At BlackBerry, our mission is to protect data, not to exploit it, and we fulfill this mission by developing ultra-secure products and services with privacy embedded by design,” Chen said.

“Under my leadership, our products will never have a backdoor. This is BlackBerry’s promise to you.”

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