BlackBerry tarnished its rivals on the smartphone market, slamming them for caring more about their reputation than about what really matters.

In light of the whole Telegram and WhatsApp debacle, BlackBerry CEO John Chen took the opportunity to warn that we're in a "dark place" when companies value their brand above all else.

As Chen points out, government officials have long been trying to get more help from the tech industry, notoriously asking tech firms to open up backdoors that would let authorities in.

Apple famously denied such requests on multiple occasions, arguing that criminals could use those backdoors as well and would compromise the data integrity and security of its users.

"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' of the company," the BlackBerry CEO writes on the company's blog. "We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good."

Chen further highlights that BlackBerry has a strong commitment to privacy, security and brand value, but it will not extend its privacy commitment to criminals. In his opinion, technology companies should not refuse access requests as long as they're reasonable and lawful. Data and privacy protection should not mean protecting criminals.

Companies should do their best to help law enforcement, as long as it's within ethical and legal boundaries, so they could better protect citizens.

At the same time, BlackBerry is fully aware that federal agencies sometimes tend to exaggerate with their requests, and asking tech firms to place backdoors in their software and devices is a good example of such exaggeration. BlackBerry itself refused to place such backdoors or allow government access to its servers, and says it never will. The company points out that when jurisdictional authorities in national markets overstepped their boundaries and requested access that would abuse citizens' privacy, BlackBerry preferred to exit those markets altogether rather than facilitate the abuse.

Ultimately, BlackBerry calls for a "public policy that supports law enforcement without impeding personal privacy."

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