Blackberry win rights to sell messaging tools to U.S. government


BlackBerry Ltd. said on Thursday it has won the right to sell tools for encrypting phone calls and text messages to the U.S. federal government, garnering an endorsement from the National Security Agency for the products.

The company said it received the endorsement from the NSA’s National Information Assurance Partnership, or NIAP, which reviews commercial technology products to see if they meet enhanced security standards for government use.

NIAP has also endorsed tools from BlackBerry rivals that outplayed BlackBerry in consumer smartphones, including Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics.

The fear that eavesdroppers are listening in to government communications has risen sharply in recent years, with an unencrypted mobile phone call between a senior U.S. State Department officer and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine intercepted and leaked online in early 2014.

The tools are based on technology from Secusmart, which BlackBerry acquired in 2014 after the German startup won a contract to lock down Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone in the wake of claims by a former U.S. intelligence contractor that it was tapped by the NSA.

German prosecutors in 2015 dropped an inquiry into claims that Merkel’s phone was bugged, saying they had not found enough evidence to continue the probe.

BlackBerry said its encrypted voice and text messaging products are used by government agencies in 20 countries in Europe, Latin America, southeast Asia and Africa.

Germany is its biggest government customer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s