BalckBerry Ltd , is hoping that the PRIV, its first Android device, will lead it to a profit in hardware by next year, but buyers should be wary of the firm’s security promises. Though the PRIV is supposed to stand for privacy, BlackBerry doesn’t exactly hold up on its side of the bargain.
There’s four major areas in which Blackberry falls down on the privacy front, but the bottom line is that the PRIV is simply not the most secure smart phone out there. For those who want a solid Android phone with a hardware keyboard it’s a great purchase. For those looking to keep their data secure, however, there are better options out there.
BlackBerry Ltd doesn’t fully support encryption
In recent weeks there’s been a war going on between Apple Inc. and the FBI. Tim Cook’s firm doesn’t want to build an iPhone back door that will allow the law enforcement firm to check up on what users are doing, even if those users are criminals.
BlackBerry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to support that absolutist stance on personal privacy. The firm’s COO Marty Beard said at the FedTalks IT summit that his firm “very much take a balanced approach” to device encryption. He said the firm stands in contrast to firms that are “all about encryption all the way.”
Apple now says that even it can’t unencrypt data from a user’s phone. “Among the security features in iOS 8 is a feature that prevents anyone without the device’s passcode from accessing the device’s encrypted data. This includes Apple,” the firm recently told a Federal court. BlackBerry Ltd doesn’t have that sort of protection for PRIV users in place, and it seems the firm has no interest in doing so.
BlackBerry doesn’t plug app data holes
BlackBerry has added some layers of security to Android in order to make the PRIV secure, but the firm has failed to keep data safe at the most basic level. Though the firm has added a DTEK control center that allows users to watch data leave their phone, and could allow malware to be caught.
It doesn’t, however, help users stem the constant flow of their data to firms like Facebook, Google and the rest. That’s a fundamental problem with the Android OS, but it’s one that other phone makers have fixed. The BlackPhone, which is a project to secure Android, has been working to keep that data on the phone and away from prying eyes. BlackBerry, however, seems to have no interest in doing that.
BlackBerry isn’t transparent
There’s a lot to be said for a company that will sit down and tell you how much of your data it feels like it should give away. BlackBerry isn’t one of those firms. In Silicon Valley today transparency reports, detailing the number and nature of state data requests from major data holders, have become an expected part of a firm’s dealings with users.
A BlackBerry spokesperson, when contacted by ZDNet, said that the firm has no plans to offer a transparency report to the public in future. BlackBerry Ltd isn’t comfortable sharing its data about user data with the world, and that’s a major faux pas in today’s privacy climate.